Dasaolu not distracted by dopers

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Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Great Britain’s European 100 metres champion James Dasaolu insists athletes can not afford to be distracted by the doping allegations engulfing their sport.

A programme broadcast by German TV station ARD revealed allegations of systematic doping and cover-ups in Russia and it was announced on Tuesday that Dick Pound, the hard-hitting former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), would head an independent three-man commission investigating the damaging claims.

Dasaolu’s event has been tainted by doping, with the fastest man in the world in 2014, Justin Gatlin, a two-time drug cheat. Tyson Gay, the second fastest man in history, returned to the track this summer after a reduced one-year suspension, while former world record holder Asafa Powell also came back to competition after his enforced absence for testing positive for a banned stimulant.

On Gatlin, Dasaolu said: “The sport has allowed him back in, he’s served his time and he’s come back. All you can do is just get on with it and train and control what you can control as an athlete in your performances.

“I think I raced him once and I think he said, ‘good luck’ to me or something like that, but apart from that I didn’t really converse with him.”

Asked about the latest drug scandal to hit the sport, Dasaolu added: “I’m just an athlete, I just focus on myself, focus on competing, focus on training and that’s all we can do as athletes – as opposed to focusing on the politics within the sport. That’s a distraction, you can only focus on yourself.

“I’m pretty sure the sport will be cleaned up and all things will be good eventually.”

Dasaolu’s training partner Asha Philip, one of a crop of exciting young British women sprinters, said: “If we’re worrying if (other competitors) are on drugs, that means they are affecting us, they will be draining our energy and we wouldn’t be concentrating on what we came to a championships to do.”

Philip has joined Dasaolu’s Loughborough-based training group under Steve Fudge and both athletes will compete at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham in February, with the European Indoor Championships taking place in Prague the following month.

The Birmingham meeting is the same one at which Dasaolu earlier this year suffered the hamstring injury which ruled him out of the World Indoors and denied him the chance to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

But the 27-year-old, whose career has been hampered by injury, said he was not taking a risk with his fitness by doing another indoor season.

“There is no risk at all, I believe I am over my injuries and that’s that,” said Dasaolu, who added that a decision had yet to be made over whether he would compete in Prague.

“(My fitness) been very consistent this winter, I’ve had no hiccups.”

The Londoner is also hopeful of playing a greater role in the 4x100m relay team next year, having not been part of the quartet which won gold at the European Championships in Zurich in August, despite being the individual 100m champion.

Stephen Maguire has replaced Rana Reider in charge of the relay programme.

“I was always involved with the squad, I just unfortunately never got the opportunity to run, but I definitely will be involved with the relay (in 2015),” Dasaolu added.

“As a team, bringing in the additions of myself, I’m sure we’ll be able to contend for global medals now.”

:: Watch the world’s best athletes compete at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday 21 February. For tickets visit britishathletics.org.uk

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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