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Gatlin can reduce his life ban

LONDON -- Justin Gatlin could escape a lifetime ban if he testifies against his coach.

By testifying against Trevor Graham, Gatlin would exercise the ``substantial assistance" provision in the World Anti-Doping Agency's code, which reduces the ban by proving ``he or she bears no significant fault or negligence" in the violation.

The 24-year-old American sprinter faces the ban after a second positive doping test, but that could be reduced to eight years if Gatlin provides information against his coach.

``Since we don't have any criminal investigative powers . . . it takes information coming to us from people aiming for a reduction in their own doping sentences," said general counsel Travis Tygart, who refused to comment on Gatlin or any other cases before USADA.

Gatlin, the Olympic and world champion and co-world record-holder in the 100 meters, tested positive for testosterone or other steroids April 22 after a relay race in Kansas. He denies knowingly using banned substances.

Graham has claimed Gatlin was the victim of a vengeful massage therapist who rubbed testosterone cream on his legs without his knowledge after the race.

``If an athlete can provide information on individuals involved in doping conspiracies and can help us catch distributors or users of these drugs, we would always welcome that evidence," Tygart said.

Graham has been involved with a half-dozen athletes who have received drug suspensions.

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