Gatlin guns for shot at redemption
August 25, 2011
JUSTIN Gatlin knows he might get booed. It hasn't happened yet, but he fears it may yet come. He also knows he has little to say to those who would condemn his return to the track he was banned from five years ago, other than to seek redemption.
After serving four years of a ban for using steroids, Gatlin has made a stunning return to the US team to compete at the world athletics championships in Daegu, South Korea. Agreeing to co-operate after testing positive in 2006, Gatlin avoided a life ban and was suspended for eight years, later halved on appeal. The years in limbo left him uncertain about his future but he realised that at 29 he had time to atone.
''I have seen in the past athletes who have tested positive and on the start line all you hear is boos. I just tell everyone even if you believe me or you don't, or you're a fan of mine or you're not, I just want to come out here and run and keep it simple. I'm not out here pointing fingers or trying to plead my case,'' he said yesterday.
''I just want to come out here and run … I come back by the grace of God to make this team.''
Some will hope he bombs, others will dismiss whatever he does on the basis of drugs. He hopes some will see his effort now for what it is. Clean, and from a man who has served his time.