3 Aug 2010

Gatlin nervous about his return to the track

5:08 pm on 3 August 2010

The American sprinter Justin Gatlin is nervous but ready to run under 10 seconds in two 100 metre races in Estonia this week that will launch his return from a four-year doping ban.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 metres champion, has not run a competitive race since June 2006 after being banned because of a positive test for the male sex hormone testosterone and its precursors.

He's always claimed his innocence.

Many expected him to have difficulty finding races even after the ban expired, because of a Euro Meetings recommendation not to invite athletes who bring dispute to the sport.

But organisers of the Estonian meetings, which are not members of the Euro group, said they welcomed Gatlin's participation and looked forward to him setting a new national record for the Baltic country of under 10.10 seconds.

Gatlin's personal best for the 100 metres is 9.85 seconds with no sprinters at the meeting with a personal best under 10 seconds.