Gatlin returns to competition in US at Penn Relays

Updated: April 30, 2011, 9:02 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin ran in the 400-meter relay at the Penn Relays on Saturday, his first competition in the United States since testing positive for a banned substance in 2006.

Gatlin's American team finished third in a race won by a Jamaican team led by former 100 world record holder Asafa Powell.

With Powell running the leadoff leg, Jamaica won in 38.33 seconds. Powell, who once held the world record in the 100 for nearly three years, was teamed with Michael Frater, Nesta Carter and Steve Mullings.

Gatlin, who returned to competition in Europe last year after a four-year ban, also ran leadoff. His presence was barely acknowledged by the crowd of 48,531, and his team finished third in 38.66.

Olympian Allyson Felix helped a U.S. women's team win both the 400 and the 1,600 relays for the fifth year in a row. She ran the second leg in both races.

Gatlin, the former University of Tennessee star, once shared the world record in the 100 with Powell at 9.77.

But he received a four-year ban from the sport by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and his record was taken off the books.

On Saturday, Gatlin continued to refuse to acknowledge he had ever knowingly taken a banned substance. He previously said his massage therapist had rubbed a testosterone cream on him without his knowledge, a claim the message therapist has denied.

"I always stand by my statement," Gatlin said.

"For the whole five years since it happened I never swayed the story. That's the way I was raised. And if I did it, then I would have said it."

Powell had little to say about Gatlin's return.

"He is back and he has done his thing," Powell said. "He is an athlete and I look at him as a competitor. I am out there to compete with him no matter what."

Felix teamed with Lauryn Williams, Marshevet Myers and Carmelita Jeter in the 400 to finish in 42.28. That broke the Penn Relays and Franklin Field record of 42.33 set by Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Inger Miller and Marion Jones in 2000, the first year of "USA vs. the World" at the Penn Relays.

"That was a fun race," Felix said. "I love to sprint and haven't done much of it this year, so when I get the chance I just want to go all for it."

In the 1,600, Felix's team won in 3:22.92, just shy of the Penn Relays record of 3:22.1 she helped set three years ago. Felix clocked a 50.3 split. Debbie Dunn ran a 51.1, Natasha Hastings a 50.30 and Sanya Richards-Ross a 51.18.

Jamaica won the women's sprint medley relay for the fourth consecutive year. Simone Facey, Kerron Stewart, Melaine Walker and Kenia Sinclair were timed in 3:34.64, a shade slower than the Penn Relays record of 3:34.56.

Morocco's distance medley relay team of Mohammed Moustaoui, Marouan Maadadi, Mohammed Laalou and Amine Laalou ended Kenya's three-year run of victories in the event.

The Moroccans won in 9:17.48, with Amine Laalou clocking a mile anchor split of 3:53.09 to edge Australia, which was second in 9:17.56.

In the men's 1,600, the USA's Quentin Summers, Jamal Torrence, Bershawn Jackson and Angelo Taylor won in 3:02.40, with the Bahamas second in 3:02.79.

In college events, Princeton won the men's 6,400 in 16:19.98, the Tigers' first Penn Relays championship since 1940.

LSU won the men's 400 in 38.77 and 800 in 1:20.62. Gabriel Mvumvure, LSU's anchor in both races, also won the 100 in 10.33.

Texas A&M won the women's 800 relay for the fourth year in a row, this time in 1:29.96.

The Aggies men's team won 1,600 in 3:01.73. Duke took the women's 3,200 in 8:25.95. Virginia repeated as the men's 3,200 champions in 7:12.15. And Texas won the women's 1,600 in 3:30.08.

Carrie Russell of UTech in Jamaica won the women's 100 in 11.29.

Jasmin Stowers of LSU won the women's 100 hurdles in 13.16. And Omo Osaghaeof Texas Tech was the men's 110 hurdles champion in 13.35.

In college field events, William & Mary's Brandon Heroux threw 239 feet, 9 inches to win the men's javelin.

Penn's Maalik Reynolds won the high jump with a leap of 7-3 1/4. Virginia Tech's Jared Jodon won the men's pole vault with a 17- 3/4.

Florida's Omar Craddock won the triple jump with a 54-0.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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