Official: Europe firm on Justin Gatlin ban
STOCKHOLM -- The track ban that prevents former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin from competing in main European events still stands despite his serving a four-year doping suspension.
Rajne Soderberg, the director of the Stockholm Diamond League event, said in an email Friday that the ban still holds. Euromeetings, the organization representing Europe's top track events, "will continue to recommend that members do not invite athletes who we believe cause disrepute to our meetings and our sport."
This includes Gatlin, but the policy doesn't cover venues outside Europe.
The American was one of the fastest men in the world when he failed a doping test in 2006 for excessive testosterone.
Gatlin is scheduled to run the 100 meters Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore. He was on the waiting list and recently added to the field when other sprinters dropped out.
Tom Jordan, the meet director for the Prefontaine Classic, said Gatlin deserves his spot because his punishment has been served.
"It's not so much believing in second chances as much as the philosophy of our society, which is if you've paid your debt to society and you're considered eligible, then you should have the opportunity if you earn it," Jordan said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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