Modahl clears name in doping battle

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Diane Modahl yesterday won her 18-month battle to clear her name on a doping charge when the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) announced that they had dropped any case against her.

The former Commonwealth 800 metres champion had a four-year ban lifted by a British Athletic Federation appeal panel last September, and international endorsement of that decision now means she can seek an Olympic place this year.

Modahl, 29, who is training in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and coach Vicente, reacted to the news with a mixture of delight, disbelief and anger. "It is still sinking in," she said. "We went the whole distance, and we won. It is a tremendous relief."

But Modahl, who is now suing the British Athletic Federation (BAF) for compensation after spending an estimated pounds 500,000 on legal and scientific costs, added: "We have lost an awful lot on the back of this. We will ultimately lose our house . . . The mental strain it has placed on myself, my husband and our friends has been enormous. I am very angry that it happened in the first place."

"The powerful organisations in control of my sport can make you or break you," she added. "I believe there were those who wanted to break me."

The IAAF Council, meeting in Cape Town yesterday, decided the Lisbon laboratory which originally found huge levels of testosterone in Modahl's urine sample after a minor meeting in Portugal two years ago had provided analytical data that was "not satisfactory".

The council took into account independent scientific evidence provided by Modahl to show that testosterone could be produced in urine samples which were not stored correctly. The BAF welcomed the decision. "We are delighted for Diane," the BAF spokesman Tony Ward said. "And if she decides to compete again internationally she will be welcomed back into our team."

Modahl planned to celebrate the news in an appropriate fashion. "I'm going on a run," she said. "It's going to be a very exhilarating one."

Full report, page 24