Supportive judge rejects Gatlin's plea

Banned sprinter Justin Gatlin got support but no relief yesterday from a federal judge in Pensacola, Fla., who rescinded his order allowing the defending 100-meter champion to compete in this weekend's U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

Judge Lacey Collier said that while he believed Gatlin "is being wronged," he lacked jurisdiction over the U.S. Olympic Committee to determine who is eligible for the trials.

The only recourse of the former world champion at 100 and 200 meters appears to be with the Swiss Federal Court, Collier wrote in his seven-page order.

Gatlin's attorney, Joe Zarzaur, told the Associated Press that he would file an appeal this morning, along with a motion asking the 11th Circuit Court to reinstate the injunction during the appeals process, which would allow Gatlin to run in the trials.

Two weeks ago, the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a four-year ban against Gatlin. He had asked CAS to rescind his first doping violation - from 2001 - which he had hoped would reduce his penalty to a two-year ban, allowing him to compete in the trials.

The 26-year-old sprinter's first doping offense was a positive test for amphetamines in the 2001 junior nationals. The substance was part of medication Gatlin was taking for attention deficit disorder.

He wants that offense erased, contending that the punishment violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Gatlin's second doping offense stems from a positive test in the Kansas Relays in 2006.

Collier wrote that he agreed with Gatlin's argument, but lacked authority in the case. "The result of this determination is quite troubling because Mr. Gatlin is being wronged," Collier said.

Thorpe to court. Five-time Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe started legal proceedings in Sydney, Australia, against a French newspaper and journalist he alleges defamed him by publishing claims he used performance-enhancing drugs, but Thorpe has not decided whether to pursue the case.

An article written by Damien Ressiot and published by the daily sports newspaper L'Equipe in March 2007 reported that Thorpe gave a sample in 2006 that showed abnormal levels of testosterone.

Last August, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority cleared Thorpe. FINA, swimming's world governing body, had similar findings.

Bulgarian banned. Bulgaria's Olympic Committee said shooter Antoaneta Boneva, 22, was dropped from the country's Olympic team after testing positive for cocaine.