Justin Gatlin wins 1st post-ban gold

Updated: March 10, 2012, 6:35 PM ET
Associated Press

ISTANBUL -- Justin Gatlin's fear of fading into obscurity disappeared in a sprint for gold at the world indoor championships.

Shortly after teammate Ashton Eaton set a heptathlon world record on an all-American day in Istanbul, Gatlin earned his first gold medal since serving a four-year doping suspension and Sanya Richards-Ross won the 400 meters by a wide margin.

Gatlin chased down Nesta Carter to win the 60 meters in 6.46 seconds -- 0.08 seconds better than his Jamaican rival.

"It feels like I am reborn again," said Gatlin, insisting he would be gunning for the London Olympics at age 30, eight years after winning the 100 title at the 2004 Athens Games.

Eaton dominated the two-day competition from start to finish, capping it with an overwhelming 1,000-meter win. He broke the record he set last year by 77 points with a total of 6,645, clinching gold and the record to earn $90,000.

"I was good, fit and healthy," Eaton said. "If all things went well, I knew I would be able to do it."

Richards-Ross won in 50.79 second, beating Russian Aleksandra Fedoriva by a massive 0.97 seconds.

Her gold medal held special significance considering her husband is cornerback Aaron Ross, who plays for the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants.

"Just realized.... My hubby and I are both World Champs in a matter of weeks!!!," Richards-Ross wrote on Twitter.

Gatlin rallied after Carter had a fast start.

"I just went and grabbed him and passed him," Gatlin said.

After his suspension ended in mid-2010, Gatlin worked off the pounds and got the spring back in his sprint.

"The name of the game is relevancy. One of my biggest fears was to be ignored," Gatlin said.

No more.

Gatlin was suspended after testing positive for excessive testosterone in 2006. In 2003, he won his first world indoor title with the same time.

"So it was a rebirth," he said, less than five months before the London Games.

However, bronze-medalist Dwain Chambers is still not sure if he will be allowed to compete at the Olympics in his home country.

Like Gatlin, he was suspended for doping. Now he is looking for redemption, too, but his own Olympic federation refuses to take former doping offenders on its team.

On Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport will hold a hearing, and a decision whether to overturn the ban is expected in April.

"I have no idea what my future holds," Chambers said.

Eaton will likely compete for decathlon gold at the London Olympics in August.

"If I keep training, the way I am making improvements, it should be a good outdoor season," he said.

Eaton took an early lead Friday, setting a personal best of 26 feet, 9¼ inches in the long jump. He also won the 60 meters, 60-meter hurdles and the pole vault, making up for third-place finishes in the shot put and high jump. And there was no stopping him in the 1,000, when he knew another world record was on the line.

"Every 200 meters, I would look at the clock and I was thinking, 'Geez, I'm kind of falling off pace. Pick it up. Pick it up.' It's hard when you're running by yourself," Eaton said. "You don't have that person to chase. But I was chasing a record."

Despite his record-setting form, it was his first world title.

Chaunte Lowe of the United States won the high jump over outdoor champion Anna Chicherova.

Genzebe Dibaba added to her Ethiopian family dynasty by winning the 1,500 title in 4:05.78, 2 seconds ahead of Mariem Alaoui Selsouli of Morocco.

"This is the first major victory of my career," Dibaba said. "It was tough, but I am happy to start the Olympic year with this world title."

Her sisters are two-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba and 2004 Olympic 10,000 silver medalist Ejegayehu Dibaba.

Abdalaati Iguider won the men's 1,500 for Morocco, going past Ilham Tanui Ozbilen of Turkey in the final yards to deny the cheering crowds of a hometown win.

Three months after breaking his left hand, Renaud Lavillenie of France won the pole vault with a world-leading jump of 19-6¼, and Valerie Adams of New Zealand the women's shot put.

Britain got its first gold from 39-year-old Yamile Aldama, a Cuban-born triple jumper who also competed for Sudan before gaining British citizenship two years ago. She had a season-best 48-7½ to edge defending champion Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan.

"Better late than never," Aldama said. "This is my first world title."

Tiffany Porter, an American-born runner with a British mother, won silver in the 60-meter hurdles for Britain.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press