Robert Wagner says he invented performance enhancing drug claims
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 19/12/17 10:00pm
An agent with links to Justin Gatlin says he invented a story about obtaining banned drugs in order to impress undercover reporters.
Robert Wagner is at the centre of a Daily Telegraph investigation into the entourage of 100m world champion Gatlin.
Wagner, who has occasionally represented Gatlin, and Gatlin's coach Dennis Mitchell, were secretly filmed by the Telegraph claiming they could obtain and administer human growth hormone and testosterone for $250,000.
The newspaper's reporters met the pair at Gatlin's Florida training base, having posed as producers interested in making a film about a sprinter - the drugs were meant to help the film's lead actor get into shape.
But, in a statement issued by a British-based public relations company, Wagner claimed the story was based on false comments he made up to impress people he thought were in the film business.
"It was just big talk," said Wagner.
"I did not actually source or supply the substances the reporters asked for but stupidly claimed I could.
"I apologise to Mr Gatlin, his management and family for saying completely false things about him and I apologise to other completely innocent athletes also wrongly implicated by my words."
Wagner said he reported his meeting with the reporters to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and would assist the investigation it had started "in every way I can".
Mitchell, an Olympic sprint relay champion who served a two-year doping ban during his track career, has also strongly denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gatlin posted a statement on his Instagram account, saying he was "shocked and surprised" when he learned Mitchell had allegedly offered to supply performance-enhancing drugs.
"I am not using and have not used PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs)," wrote Gatlin, who has twice served doping bans during a controversial career.
The 35-year-old American, who beat sprinting legend Usain Bolt in the final of the 100m at the London World Athletics Championships this year, said he had sacked Mitchell after hearing of the claims.
According to the Telegraph, Gatlin was not present when Mitchell and Wagner discussed banned drugs with the reporters.
PA Sport has asked the newspaper for a response to Wagner's statement but the investigative team behind the sting have not yet replied.
The AIU and USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) issued statements on Monday night to confirm they are working together on an investigation into the newspaper's claims, and IAAF president Lord Coe has described the allegations as "extremely serious".