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September 22, 2017

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Campbell-Brown into 60m semifinals

SOPOT, Poland--Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown insisted Saturday 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 200-meters gold medalist and defending two-time world 60 meters 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 60-meter semifinals with a season's best 7.22 seconds in her heat, finishing in the third automatic qualifying spot behind winner Tianna Bartoletta of the U.S. and Norway's Ezinne Okparaebo.

"I'm happy, I'm looking forward to the semifinals 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 toward 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 7.12 seconds to also progress to Sunday's semifinals, slated for 1415 GMT, with the final to be run at 1705 GMT.

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