4 Aug 2010

Gatlin wins on his comeback

6:37 pm on 4 August 2010

The US sprinter Justin Gatlin has won the final at his comeback meeting after a four-year doping ban in a time of 10.24 seconds.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 metres champion, was running at a lower tier meeting in Estonia as he starts his comeback aiming for the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

He bettered his heat time of 10.34 seconds but ran far from his personal best of 9.85 in winning the race ahead of fellow American J-Mee Samuels who finished in 10.31.

Gatlin had 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.

The 28-year-old regained his eligibility to compete in July but was expected to have difficulty finding races even after the ban ended because of a Euro Meetings recommendation not to invite athletes who bring dispute to the sport.

However, the organisers of the Estonian meetings, which are not members of the Euro group, welcomed Gatlin's participation.