OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Weightlifters: Expelled lifters may win reprieve

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The Independent Online
TO THE potential huge embarrassment of the British Olympic Association (BOA), meetings were being held in Barcelona and London last night to discuss whether two weightlifters sent home for failing drug tests would be allowed to return.

Andrew Saxton and Andrew Davies, both 25, have appealed against their expulsion and international ban. They admit taking the drug clenbuterol, which acts as an anabolic steroid and stimulant, but claim it was a treatment for asthma. They were due to compete tomorrow and on Monday.

Dick Palmer, the head of the British Olympic team, and another BOA representative met the medical commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last night. Palmer left the meeting after 20 minutes, saying there would be a press conference today to announce the outcome. 'We were seeking clarification over a few things,' he said.

The weightlifters' case is believed to centre on the procedure of the tests and whether the drug, prohibited during competition, is also banned during training.

A spokesman for the Sports Council in London, which administered the tests, said that although clenbuterol was not specifically named on the IOC's list of proscribed drugs, the list ends with the catch-all phrase 'and related compounds'. The spokesman said that in the Sports Council's view clenbuterol was a banned drug.

The other subject of debate could be the fact, confirmed yesterday, that separate tests on the two men by the IWF a few days before the Games were negative. The Sports Council's tests were conducted on 10 and 11 July.

The third Briton sent home, Jason Livingston, an athlete, also protested his innocence yesterday. Livingston was suspended after traces of another drug, methandienone, were discovered.

Britain's Nicola Fairbrother won a silver in the judo lightweight competition last night.

Letters, page 17

Olympic reports, pages 49-52