Johnson eager to make second comeback

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The Independent Online

The disgraced former 100 metres world record holder Ben Johnson wants to make another comeback. Johnson is training near Ottawa and wants to challenge the Olympic champion, his fellow Canadian Donovan Bailey, if the International Amateur Athletic Federation agrees to lift his lifetime ban.

"The only thing I don't have is the race edge," the 35-year-old Johnson said. "The speed and endurance are there, but the mind isn't there 100 per cent. It won't take long."

"It's 100 per cent that this man is back," Morris Chrobotek, Johnson's manager and agent said. "He has served his time for an alleged second offence. He's clean. He's raw. He's back."

Canada, the sport's governing federation in the country, and Chrobotek agreed on Tuesday to send the IAAF Council a letter asking it to reconsider Johnson's ban at its meeting on 29-30 May. The letter says the ban prevents Johnson, who still considers himself a full-time athlete, from earning a living.

Johnson tested positive for Stanozolol in 1988 and was suspended for two years after winning the Olympic 100m title at Seoul in a world record 9.79sec. In January 1993, he was suspended for life after a second positive test for steroids.

Johnson said he is scheduled to run at meetings on 1 June in Bratislava and 5 June in Rome, assuming the IAAF lifts the ban.

Meanwhile Bailey will officially become the 100m world-record holder this week. Usually world records are ratified within a few weeks, but all the records from last summer's Olympics, including Bailey's 9.84 in the 100m and Michael Johnson's 19.32 for the 200m, have yet to be ratified by the IAAF.

The IAAF general secretary, Istvan Gyulai, blames USA Track and Field, the American governing body, for the delay, and brushed aside reports that ratification was being withheld because of a lab error in Atlanta.

A few months ago, it was revealed that five to seven positive drug tests from the Atlanta Games were disregarded because the contract with the testing lab had expired before the Games ended. "It has nothing to do with that," Gyulai said. He blamed the problem in delays in obtaining the proper paperwork from USA Track and Field.