'I have nothing to prove,' says VCB
SOPOT, Poland (AFP) — Jamaica's Veronica Campbell Brown insisted yesterday she had "nothing to prove" as she made her track comeback at the World Indoor Championships after 10 months sidelined by a botched doping case.
Campbell Brown, a two-time Olympic 200m gold medallist and defending two-time world 60m champion, has not competed since testing positive for a banned diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide, last May.
She had contested, however, that IAAF rules had not been respected in her case and "had compromised the integrity of the urine sample she gave", arguing that there was no proof that she had violated anti-doping laws.
The three-person appeal panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) agreed and last month cleared her to compete at the world indoors in Sopot.
The ruling was a personal triumph for Campbell Brown as it was she who had demanded the CAS judge her case after the Jamaican authorities handed her a two-year suspension on the recommendation of the IAAF anti-doping commission after initially only giving her a slap on the wrist.
"I have nothing to prove, I'm just doing what I love," the 31-year-old said after qualifying for the women's 60m semi-finals with a season's best 7.22sec in her heat, finishing in the third automatic qualifying spot behind winner Tianna Bartoletta of the US and Norway's Ezinne Okparaebo.
"I'm happy, I'm looking forward to the semi-finals tomorrow.
"I've got to be confident, why would I be here running? The objective is to be confident and just do my best.
"You know when you don't compete for a while, you're going to feel a bit rusty," said Campbell Brown, who has won a total of seven Olympic and nine world medals.
Lamine Diack, president of the athletics' world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), had said on Thursday there were no hard feelings towards the Jamaican.
"I wish her all success here," Diack said. "She tested positive and she accepted the suspension.
"But the decision taken didn't satisfy her. CAS agreed and qualified her to compete, so she runs in Sopot. We wish her much success and that's all we can say."
Campbell Brown's teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won her heat in 7.12sec to also progress to today's semi-finals, slated for 1415 GMT, with the final to be run at 1705 GMT.
Fraser-Pryce enjoyed a stellar 2013 season in winning the 100m and 200m at the Moscow worlds and collecting a third gold as part of the Jamaican 4x100m quartet, but is making her debut at the world indoors.
"I am happy with my race. I did what I had to do to qualify," she said.
Joining the Jamaican duo, Bartoletta and Okparaebo today will be Ivory Coast's two-time world outdoor sprint silver medallist Murielle Ahoure, who set a leading 7.09sec, Germany's Verena Sailer and Britain's Asha Philip.