Smyth believes drug cheats should receive lifetime bans

Irish sprinter Jason Smyth, who trains alongside shamed American Tyson Gay, says drug cheats should be banned from athletics.

Gay and Jamaican Asafa Powell were this week found guilty of doping and Smyth was asked if cheats should be given four-year or lifetime bans, as suggested by Ireland’s David Gillick.

“I didn’t see what David Gillick said, but I feel like those who intentionally cheat, without a doubt [they should be banned],” he said.

“If you are silly enough to go out and do these things, and intentionally go out of your way to do it then you have to face the consequences. Intentionally cheating is in no way acceptable in any walk of life.”

Many of the fastest men in the history of 100m sprinting have been caught doping at different times, so the question is whether that has permeated through to Paralympic sports, such as Smyth’s.

The Derry man says he can only account for himself, but points out that each competitor needs to be vigilant.

“I think all athletes have to be careful in everything they do. Everything that an athlete puts into their body, supplements, you have got to be aware of it. It is part of the job, just like turning up to run on the track, doing the training.”

The IPC Athletics and Swimming World Championships take place from July 19-28 in Lyon and Smyth will contest the T13 100m and 200m. This will be the first big meet he has contested since last autumn.

“You go from the hype of London and 80,000 people and everyone roaring and supporting you to going to a competition when there is nobody there and it seems a little bit irrelevant,” said the double gold medal winner from the 2012 Games.

“It is a contrast, but at the same time you realise you have to just focus and, as fantastic as London was, it is in the past and you have to look forward now because it is about preparing for Rio, world championships and continually trying to achieve what you haven’t achieved and not looking into the past.”

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