Gatlin says ready to run hard in his comeback races

New York: US sprinter Justin Gatlin is nervous but ready to run under 10 seconds in two 100 metre races in Estonia this week that will launch his return from a four-year doping ban, he said.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 metres champion, will compete at a meeting in Rakvere, Estonia on Tuesday and again five days later in Tallinn.

"I will be ready to run and to run fast," Gatlin told a news conference, adding "any athlete would be nervous going into a competition".

He has not run a competitive race since June 2006 after being banned because of a positive test for the male sex hormone testosterone and its precursors.

Gatlin said that using the techniques he has been taught by veteran sprint coach Loren Seagrove, "I can hopefully easily get under 10 seconds."

The 28-year-old, who regained his eligibility in July after serving a four-year ban, said he was looking forward to the next Olympic Games.

"I can`t wait for London 2012," he said, adding: "I want to go into the sport given that I might be a just little rusty and have a little dust on me, and I need to just knock it off."

Many expected him to have difficulty finding races even after the ban expired, because of a Euro Meetings recommendation not to invite athletes who bring dispute to the sport.

But organisers of the Estonian meetings, which are not members of the Euro group, said they welcomed Gatlin`s participation and looked forward to him setting a new national record for the Baltic country of under 10.10 seconds.

Gatlin`s personal best for the 100 metres is 9.85 seconds with no sprinters at the meeting with a personal best under 10 seconds.

His closest rival at the meet will be compatriot J-Mee Samuels, with a season and personal best of 10.19 seconds.

Bureau Report

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