| April 30
April 30 World indoor sprint champion Justin
Gatlin said Briton Dwain Chambers deserved the chance to compete
at the London Olympics
after his lifetime Games ban imposed by the British Olympic
Association for doping was overturned on Monday.
"It would be an honour to line up against him in London,"
the American 2004 Olympic 100 metres champion, who is making a
comeback from a four-year doping ban, told Reuters.
"He is still my competitor, but I am happy he will be able
to support his family and able to be back to what his livelihood
is, track and field. "He should not be punished twice."
Gatlin made the comments in a telephone interview from
Orlando, Florida after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
said the BOA's lifetime Games ban for drug cheats was an extra
The BOA were ordered to fall in line with the World
Anti-Doping Agency's two-year ban for first-time offenders.
Like Chambers, Gatlin served time away from the sport for a
positive doping test.
But while his British competitor's road to the Olympics was
blocked by the now overturned BOA rule, the only barrier
standing in Gatlin's way was the cut-throat American trials.
If you are fast enough to finish in the top three at the
U.S. trials, the pathway to the Olympics is wide open for
Americans. Drug offenders, like non-offenders, are eligible to
compete once their suspensions are served.
For Chambers to carry on despite the BOA burden was
admirable, said Gatlin.
"I can say that because our stories are similar," the 2005
world double sprint champion said.
"I understand the stress he has been through...the
embarrassment and being ashamed but also the strength for him to
hold his head up."
Here is a runner, Gatlin said, "who has served not only what
time he served for his punishment, but also admitted to doing
something and begged for the mercy of not only the track and
field world but also his fans and his nation.
"It takes a strong person to be like that, to come back to
something you were banned from and no one wanted you to be
(Reporting By Gene Cherry in Salvo North Carolina, editing by