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Gay loses out to Gatlin in comeback after drugs ban

By John Mehaffey

LAUSANNE (Reuters) - Former world 100 meters champion Tyson Gay finished second behind fellow American Justin Gatlin on his return to competition after a one-year doping ban at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting on Thursday.

Gatlin, the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalist who was later banned for four years for doping, clocked a season's best 9.80 seconds while Gay clocked 9.93. American champion Mike Rodgers, who has also served a drugs suspension, was third in 9.98.

Gay was cleared to compete in the Swiss lakeside city after the international federation decided it would not contest the United States Anti-Doping Agency's decision to halve his ban. The 2007 world gold medalist tested positive for a steroid at last year's U.S. championships.

"I'm happy to be back on the circuit, I didn't miss a beat," Gay told reporters. "I felt very welcomed by my fellow athletes, it's great to make a return with 9.93.

"Lausanne is always a great competition. At this stage I'm not very clear where I will get to compete this season but my goal is to compete as much as I can and to remain healthy."

On a perfect summer's evening, Grenada's Olympic champion Kirani James set a personal best of 43.74 seconds in the men's 400 meters to join his American rival LaShawn Merritt on equal fifth place in the all-time list. Merritt finished second in 43.92.

"The conditions were perfect, the crowd was brilliant, and I am very happy," James said. "I'm very happy to run a national record, it's always something to be proud of. LaShawn was strong and he pushed me."

Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde clocked a personal best of 13.06 seconds in the men's high hurdles, the second fastest time in the world this year, and New Zealand's Olympic and world champion Valerie Adams extended her winning streak in the women's shot put to 51 with an opening mark of 10.42 meters.

World record holder Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic produced her season's best with a throw of 66.72 meters in the women's javelin.

In the final event of the evening, Ukraine's Bohdan Bondarenko won the latest battle between the world's elite male high jumpers before failing with three attempts on Cuban Javier Sotomayor's 21-year-old world record mark of 2.45 meters.

(Editing by Stephen Wood)

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