Gatlin urges restrain on judging Veronica

Des Moines (Iowa), June 22 (IANS/CMC) American sprinter Justin Gatlin has spoken in support of Jamaican runner Veronica Campbell Brown, who has been suspended after failing a drug test at the Jamaica International Invitational last month.

The American, who was himself suspended in 2006 for elevated levels of testosterone, says people must not be quick to rush in judgment, CMC reports.

"When you see someone who has such a stellar pedigree like hers, from youth age to now, you have to sit and wait and watch what happens," Gatlin told the American sports magazine Sports Illustrated. "I wish the best for her".

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) says the case against Campbell-Brown appears to involve a "lesser" offense of unintentional use of a banned substance.

However Campbell Brown has been suspended pending an investigation.

"In track and field, one thing you learn is you're judged by your performance... no matter how often I say I'm innocent or not me, I have to go out there and perform," said Gatlin who still maintained that his positive test in 2006 was caused when a massage therapist rubbed a testosterone-like cream onto his legs.

"I knew I had to come back and run 9.7. I knew I had to come back and win a gold medal indoors. I knew I had to come back and make the Olympic team," he said.

Gatlin beat Jamaican World Record holder Usain Bolt in a 100m race in the IAAF Diamond League recently and was third in the men's 100m at the London Olympic Games last year behind Bolt and Yohan Blake.

"There are people out there who are doping on purpose. And then you have athletes out there who are victims as well," Gatlin said.

"I always have to remember that there's always going to be critics out there, always going to be haters that are going to look at me or anybody else like the Veronica situation in a negative light," he said.

--IANS/CMC

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