Gatlin returns to action in US but Europe ban stays

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The Independent Online

Disgraced athlete Justin Gatlin has been told he will not be allowed to run in Europe even as he prepares to make his comeback from a four-year ban for doping.

Gatlin, who will compete in the 100 metres tonight at the Prefontaine Classic meeting in Eugene, Oregon, has been told his ban from competing in Europe will not be dropped. Rajne Soderberg, director of the Stockholm Diamond League meeting, said Euromeetings, the organisation representing Europe's top meetings, "will continue to recommend members do not invite athletes who we believe cause disrepute to our meetings and our sport". Soderberg says this includes Gatlin, but the policy does not cover venues outside Europe.

The American, one of the fastest men in the world when he failed a doping test in 2006, is hoping to run a fast time in Oregon. "It is going to be competitive and it is going to be fast," he said. "I feel honoured just to be able to come and run at a prestigious meet like this at the USA mecca of track and field."