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Sprinter Justin Gatlin fires coach over doping allegations

By The Sports Xchange
American Justin Gatlin laughs after winning the Men's 100 meters at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London in August. Gatlin won with a time of 9.92 seconds and Usain Bolt finished in third place. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
American Justin Gatlin laughs after winning the Men's 100 meters at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London in August. Gatlin won with a time of 9.92 seconds and Usain Bolt finished in third place. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

American sprinter Justin Gatlin, an Olympic gold medalist who has twice received doping suspensions, has denied using performance-enhancing drugs after an undercover report by The Telegraph in London into alleged activities by his representatives led to the opening of an investigation.

Gatlin, the world 100 meters champion, has since fired his coach, Dennis Mitchell, after the report cited Mitchell and track agent Robert Wagner offering to supply and administer testosterone and human growth hormone. Gatlin, 35, has worked with Mitchell since November 2011.

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"I am not using and have not used PED's," Gatlin wrote in a statement posted Tuesday to Instragram. "I was shocked and surprised to learn that my coach would have anything to do with even the appearance of these current accusations. I fired him as soon as I found out about this. All legal options are on the table as I will not allow others to lie about me like this. I have no further comments as it is now a legal matter. They will next hear from my lawyer."

The United States Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit for the International Association of Athletics Federation on Monday opened an investigation into Gatlin, Mitchell and Wagner.

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"Investigations from tips and whistleblowers play a critical role in anti-doping efforts," a USADA spokesperson told The Telegraph. "We are presently coordinating with the Athletics Integrity Unit in order to investigate these claims fully."

Renaldo Nehemiah, Gatlin's agent, told The Telegraph that Wagner had worked for Gatlin on two or three occasions. He also said that Gatlin was not present for any discussions of banned substances.

According to The Telegraph's story that was published on Monday, undercover reporters met with Wagner and Mitchell under the appearance of seeking performance-enhancing drugs for an actor working on a film about athletics. Wagner and Mitchell are said to have offered to help buy the PEDs.

Gatlin served a four-year suspension in 2006 when he tested positive for testosterone and also received a one-year ban while at the University of Tennessee for a stimulant said to be in his prescribed attention deficit disorder medication.

Mitchell served a two-year doping ban in 1999.

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