Barely a month ago, the media; national and international was abuzz with various forms of commendations for American Athlete Justin Gatlin who beat World’s fastest man Usain Bolt in the 2017 Word Championship final.
The sporting public was denied a fairytale ending to Usain Bolt’s solo 100m career when the American took gold in the tournament.
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However, Justin’s days of excitement have been hitched to moments of soberness as the sprinter has been excluded from the 10 male nominees for the IAAF 2017 World Athlete of the Year.
On Monday, October 2, the International Association of Athletics Federations named their 10 male and female nominees for the 2017 awards; but Gatlin’s name was not mentioned.
It is also important to note that this is the first time since 2004 -when Gatlin was also omitted- that the world or Olympic 100m champion has been left off the list.
Why Gatlin’s Name Was Omitted
The IAAF changed its rules in 2015 to exclude from its list anyone who has ever been sanctioned for a serious doping offence. For Gatlin, his omission is no surprise as the sprinter has served two doping bans.
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Justin Gatlin was banned for two years in 2001 from international competition after testing positive for amphetamines.
Later in 2006, Gatlin also tested positive in another doping test. He tested positive for testosterone – performance-enhancing drug, after a relay race on April 22, 2006.
The 35-year-old was issued with an eight-year ban from track and field; which he accepted to avoid a lifetime ban in exchange for his cooperation with the doping authorities.
However, Justin Gatlin appealed against the ban, after which an arbitration panel reduced it to four years at a hearing in December 2007.
The IAAF’s new rule came after Germany’s Olympic discus champion Robert Harting asked for his own name to be removed from the list in protest at Gatlin’s inclusion in 2014.
The 2017 list is led by British 10 000m world champion Mo Farah and South Africa’s 400m star Wayde van Niekerk.
The women’s list includes comeback queen Sally Pearson of Australia, the 100m hurdles champion, and South Africa’s Caster Semenya, the winner of the 800m.
The Athlete of the Year award is organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), for athletes participating in events within the sport of athletics including track and field, cross country running, road running, and racewalking.
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