Justin Gatlin has denied using performance enhancing drugs and has said that he has sacked his coach after a newspaper investigation claimed he offered to supply banned substances.
The anti-doping and athletics authorities are investigating allegations by the Daily Telegraph that the world 100m champion's coach, Dennis Mitchell, and an athletics agent, Robert Wagner, offered to supply performance enhancing drugs for an actor training for a film.
Gatlin said in a statement on Tuesday: “I am not using and have not used PED’s. 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. Thank you all my supporters and well wishers.”
Undercover reporters visited Gatlin’s Florida training camp and they claim the pair offered to supply and administer testosterone and human growth hormone.
They were also secretly recorded claiming that the use of banned drugs in athletics was still widespread.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit, the new body set up by athletics’ world governing body the IAAF to oversee all anti-doping matters in the sport, are investigating the allegations.
USADA said in a statement: “Investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers play a critical role in anti-doping efforts.
“We are presently coordinating with the Athletics Integrity Unit in order to investigate these claims fully. As with all investigations, we encourage individuals with information to come forward as an important tool to help protect clean athletes. Importantly, individuals are innocent unless and until the established process determines otherwise. It’s only fair to let due process occur before jumping to any conclusions.”
Brett Clothier, head of the AIU, said in a statement: "These allegations are very serious and strike at the heart of the integrity of athletics. The IAAF anti-doping code and code of conduct applies not just to athletes, but also athlete support personnel. The Athletics Integrity Unit will be investigating this matter in co-operation with USADA and we hope the Daily Telegraph will provide information to assist.
“The use of new methodologies and designer drugs has always been a challenge for the anti-doping movement and this continues to this day. In this era, we understand that we cannot rely on testing alone to defend the sport against doping and so the AIU is both building its investigations and intelligence capability and implementing an intelligence based re-testing policy to meet such challenges.”
IAAF president Sebastian Coe, described the allegations as "extremely serious".
Gatlin, who has twice served doping bans, won 100m gold at the World Championships in London this summer, triumphing over Usain Bolt. The 35-year-old’s victory was greeted by boos from the crowd.
According to the Telegraph, Gatlin’s long-term agent Renaldo Nehemiah had said Wagner had worked for Gatlin on no more than two or three occasions and the sprinter was not present when banned substances were discussed with either the agent or coach.
Gatlin’s lawyers told the Telegraph: “There is simply no credible evidence of Mr Gatlin using performance-enhancing drugs.”
Mitchell told the newspaper: “I never suggested in any way that any of my current athletes used any banned substances or that I was familiar with training any of my current athletes with those substances.”
Wagner told the newspaper: “I wasn’t involved in doping, obviously I played along because I knew what was going on. I had to get them hooked.”