Anniversary Games: Justin Gatlin attacks double standards after London snub

The sprinter has twice been banned for doping, but his countryman Mike Rodgers is set to line up at the event despite a failed drugs test in 2011

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The Independent Online

Justin Gatlin has accused Anniversary Games organisers of double standards over their failure to invite him back to the Olympic Stadium.

The world’s fastest man this year, with the three quickest 100-metres times of the year, has been deemed persona non grata by Games organisers because of his two doping bans.

But countryman Mike Rodgers is set to line up in the 100m in London in a week's time despite a failed drugs test in 2011 which prompted a nine-month ban. Organisers also say the door is open to another banned athlete, Asafa Powell, next year.

Gatlin said: “It’s an invite so either you’re there or not. But I have other races and meets to go to, so that’s fine with me. I’ve seen other athletes that have been in my situation in those races, so that kind of contradicts it, doesn’t it?”

Rodgers tested positive four years ago for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine in an out-of-competition test, while Powell served a year-long ban after a positive sample for another banned stimulant, oxilofrine.

Gatlin took bronze behind Usain Bolt in the 100m final at London 2012 in the Olympic Stadium. However, Anniversary Games organisers have made it clear he is not welcome, with British Athletics previously saying: “We would not invite anyone who currently brings the sport into disrepute”.

Despite that stance, the 33-year-old American said he would relish the opportunity to return if given the chance.Of the prospect of an invite next year, he added: “That’s for my agent to be able to negotiate those kind of deals but I love London. I loved being there for the Olympics – the fans, the ones that come out and want to support you. Those are good fans, the city’s great so I’d love to be there.”

Gatlin boasts a fastest time of 9.74 seconds this season, set at the Doha Diamond League in May, and also clocked 9.75sec at subsequent Diamond Leagues in both Rome and Lausanne last week.

There is a chance he could go quicker still in Monaco on Friday night alongside fellow Americans Tyson Gay and Trayvon Bromell, both of whom have run sub-9.8sec this year.

Mo Farah, meanwhile, will continue his return to the track at the same meeting in a 1500m field with a strong Kenyan contingent, led by Asbel Kiprop.

Monaco had originally been scheduled as Farah’s return to action following the fall-out from the doping allegations made against Farah’s coach, Alberto Salazar, and training partner Galen Rupp but the Londoner instead ran in Lausanne last week, when he won the 5,000m.

It was on the same track two years ago that Farah broke Steve Cram’s long-held British record over a distance that he rarely races.

Gatlin admitted he had some sympathy for Farah with the spotlight on him leading up to the race, but advised the Briton just to “focus on his race and run”.

The American added: “Regardless of what’s going to happen in the papers, he has to go out there and keep competing. So go out there, run fast, run hard, and that’s what he’s been doing.”

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