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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gatlin takes case to Atlanta appellate court

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) Banned sprinter Justin Gatlin got support but no relief on Tuesday from a federal judge who rescinded his order allowing the defending 100-meter champion to compete in this weekend's U.S. Olympic trials.

Kumiko Ikeda
Flying high: Kumiko Ikeda, Japan's top female long jumper, is slated to compete on Friday at the Japan Athletics National Championships at Todoroki Stadium in Kawasaki. The four-day meet runs through Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

Judge Lacey Collier said that while he believed Gatlin "is being wronged," he lacked jurisdiction over the U.S. Olympic Committee to determine who is eligible for the trials.

The former world 100- and 200-meter champion's next recourse will be with an appellate court in Atlanta. Gatlin's attorney, Joe Zarzaur, told The Associated Press that he would file an appeal on Wednesday along with a motion asking the 11th Circuit court to reinstate the injunction during the appeals process, which would allow Gatlin to run in the trials.

"Justin's been through the wringer," Zarzaur said. "He's had so many ups and downs. . . . Of course he's disappointed, but it's not over yet."

Zarzaur said the appeal will focus on the jurisdiction aspect of the case, something he felt he lacked in Pensacola on Monday.

"If we can find some jurisdiction in Atlanta, then we're going to get our relief," Zarzaur said.

Two weeks ago, the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a four-year ban against Gatlin.

He had asked CAS to rescind his first doping violation — from 2001 — which he had hoped would reduce his penalty to a two-year ban, allowing him to compete in the trials.

Track meet begins

Staff writer

The 2008 Japan Athletics National Championships commence on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Kawasaki's Todoroki Stadium.

This year's extravaganza doubles as the Olympic qualifying meet for Japan's track and field athletes.

Thursday's action, which is scheduled to end at 6:30 p.m., features a heavy dose of field events — women's finals in the hammer throw, javelin and pole vault.

The always-popular men's 10,000-meter race and women's triple jump are also slated for Day One.

Also Thursday, 30-year-old Dai Tamesue, a two-time medalist in the IAAF World Athletics Championships (in 2001 and 2005) but a disappointment last summer at the 2007 worlds in Osaka, headlines the list of competitors in the men's 400-meter hurdles preliminaries.

The men's 200-meter prelims are also on the docket for the first day. Expect Shingo Suetsugu, a 2004 Olympian, to be in the mix for the title.

On Friday, Koji Murofoshi, the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalist in the hammer throw, returns to the spotlight, and long jumper Kumiko Ikeda is the favorite to win the women's long jump.

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