KINGSTON — American sprinter Justin Gatlin has rushed to the defence of embattled Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell Brown who has been suspended by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association after failing a drug test at the Jamaica International Invitational in May.
The American, who was himself suspended in 2006 for elevated levels of testosterone, is hoping that judgement of Campbell Brown is reserved until everything is examined, according to an article carried in the online version of American sports magazine Sports Illustrated.
“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 said.
“I wish the best for her,” he added.
Gatlin, who beat Jamaican world record holder Usain Bolt in a 100m race in the IAAF Diamond League recently and who was third in the men’s 100m at the London Olympic Games last year behind Bolt and Yohan Blake, said: “Not talking really about my case, but in general, I want the audience to understand that yes, there are people out there who are doping on purpose. And then you have athletes out there who are victims as well.
“It’s a wide variety of things that can happen to an athlete that can lead them to be a victim.”
Gatlin, who still maintained that his positive test in 2006 was caused when a massage therapist rubbed a testosterone-like cream onto his legs, said that he was not focusing on his past.
“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. 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. These are things I had to do because those are things I did before anything happened to me in a negative light.
“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,” said Gatlin.