Justin Gatlin: I am not using performance-enhancing drugs
Newspaper claims 100m champion’s past test samples to be rerun
World champion sprinter Justin Gatlin yesterday denied having used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), following doping allegations against his team.
The scandal erupted when The Daily Telegraph claimed Gatlin’s coach, Dennis Mitchell, and an agent, Robert Wagner, had offered to sell PEDs to undercover journalists from the newspaper.
When details of the investigation were published on Monday, Gatlin immediately sacked Mitchell.
The 35-year-old American runner has received two doping bans during his career, but has enjoyed a victorious return to the track, taking gold in the 100m at the London world championships in August.
In a statement yesterday, Gatlin said he was shocked by the accusations made against his coach.
“I am not using and have not used PEDs,” Gatlin said, according to The Guardian. “I was shocked and surprised to learn that my coach would have anything to do with even the appearance of these current accusations. I fired him as soon as I found out about this.”
Gatlin also revealed that he is talking with his lawyers to decide whether to sue the Telegraph for defamation.
“All legal options are on the table as I will not allow others to lie about me like this,” he added. “I have no further comments as it is now a legal matter. They will next hear from my lawyer.”
Meanwhile, the Telegraph says sources have revealed that Gatlin’s previous drugs tests are to be rerun following the paper’s investigation.
Gatlin, Mitchell and Wagner are being investigated by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). A source close to the investigation reportedly told the Telegraph: “We have a retesting policy that has been in place for some time now. We know that this is a game of catch up, and with world champion or a gold medalist we have a lot of their samples stored for retesting.”