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Gatlin to contest eight year doping ban

The 24-year-old sprinter was sanctioned after accepting that he had failed a dope test for the second time in his career.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2006 17:15 IST

Disgraced sprint king Justin Gatlin is to contest the eight-year ban he received for doping and hopes to be back in action "as soon as possible", his lawyers said.

The 24-year-old World and Olympic champion was sanctioned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Tuesday after accepting that he had failed a dope test for the second time in his career.

He also vouched to help the USADA in its battle against drug-taking in the sport and thus avoided a lifetime ban which normally follows a second violation of the ever-stricter anti-doping laws.

Whilst he cannot now contest the validity of the April test which he failed, Gatlin can ask the USADA for the eight-year ban to be reduced on the grounds that he did not knowingly take the drugs.

"USADA has announced the sanction it intends to seek, but Justin has not accepted that recommendation and will proceed to arbitration," Gatlin's lawyer Cameron Myler told AFP.

"He will argue that 'exceptional circumstances' existed in this situation that justify a significantly better result than eight years.

"Our goal is to have Justin back on track running as soon as possible."

Gatlin, who also forfeited his share of the 9.77secs 100m world record by accepting the result of the drugs test, has six months to put his case for the eight-year ban to be reduced.