Gatlin Hits Back At Doping Accusations

Former Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin has hit back at those who doubt the legitimacy of his unbeaten season. The US sprinter, who served a four-year ban after testing positive for excessive testosterone in 2006, said his fast times are due to “hard work and dedication”.

Gatlin, the fastest 100m runner in the world this year, rubbishes recently-concluded research into doping that was conducted on mice. The sprinter insisted his recent performances are based on ‘hard work’. Gatlin has not lost a 100m or 200m race this season and set a personal best of 9.77sec in 100m.

It was indicated recently by a research conducted on mice by the University of Oslo that muscles retain the advantages provided by anabolic steroids long after the doping has stopped. Kristen Gunderson, Professor of Physiology at the University of Oslo, said he believes it is likely that effects could be lifelong or at least lasting decades in humans. Gunderson added if you exercise, or take anabolic steroids, you get more nuclei and you get bigger muscles and if you take away the steroids, you lose the muscle mass, but the nuclei remain inside the muscle fibers. Professor Gunderson added they are like temporarily closed factories, ready to start producing protein again when you start exercising again.

Gatlin insisted that there is no evidence that it has any effect on humans and remarked any other suggestion is “discrediting” his name. The US sprinter said for the few haters out there, seems like that’s what they want to do, discredit his name and label him with laboratory rats in Oslo. He went on to remark that a lot of athletes that tested positive, they never came back and ran times close to the times they ran when they were positive and added he thinks that proves hard work and dedication on his behalf.

Last week, Lord Sebastian Coe revealed he had “big problems” with Gatlin being shortlisted for the IAAF male athlete of the year. Fellow nominee Robert Harting asked to be withdrawn from consideration due to the inclusion of Gatlin. Gatlin responded by saying that he did not ask to get nominated and added his choice was to run and win races and be dominant for himself. The US sprinter also remarked his job is not to go out and lose and his job is to win and that’s what he is supposed to do, like everyone else nominated. The former Olympic 100m champion said he is sad to say that a lot of people out there feel that, ‘Once a doper, always a doper’ and remarked but that makes no sense as that means you don’t believe your system is working.

In another development, Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency has remarked that athletes banned for doping offences should be handed second chances. Tygart remarked Gatlin still deserves a shot at “redemption” despite serving two doping bans. Tygart told BBC Sport if somebody commits a violation, serves a ban and comes back to the sport, part of the rule is this idea of redemption and added that there is some recent science on the effect of steroids on mice, but there is no proof yet it translates to humans.

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