UK says Christie drug charge is `not proven'

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE has been cleared by British athletics authorities of taking performance-enhancing drugs, but he may yet be the subject of inquiries by the world athletics body.

In a ruling similar to that which saw the 200m champion Doug Walker cleared of drug-taking charges in July, UK Athletics said yesterday "it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt" that Christie had used the steroid Nandrolone.

In spite of being cleared by a three-man panel - the same men who cleared Walker - Christie's celebrations may be short-lived. In Walker's case, the UK decision was rejected by the International Amateur Athletics Federation, which is now making its own inquiries.

Christie said last night that he was "delighted" by the verdict. But Istvan Gyulai, general secretary of the IAAF, told Sky News: "It is possible it is not the end of the matter but I think everybody who loves athletics hopes that it is.

"The problem is UK Athletics says it is not proven beyond reasonable doubt. The IAAF rules that if [a prohibited substance] is in your body it doesn't matter where it came from. It is up to the athlete to prove it came from natural sources".

Christie, 39, won the gold medal at 100m in the 1992 Olympics and became world champion in 1993. A staunch anti-drug campaigner, he tested positive for Nandrolone during an indoor meeting in Dortmund, Germany, on 13 February but has always protested his innocence. He has been in semi-retirement since 1997 and runs mainly to help him coach other sprinters.

"I was always confident of this outcome," he said last night. "Having maintained from the outset that I had done nothing wrong I'm relieved that the disciplinary committee in their findings has shown that they totally support me in this."

Full report, page 26