Weightlifter was best hope of medal

ANDREW DAVIES, one of the two weightlifters who returned home from Barcelona in disgrace yesterday, was Britain's best hope for a medal in the discipline.

His rise in the world rankings was spectacular. In 1987 he won a silver medal in the world junior championships and two years later, after a mediocre display in the Seoul Olympics, he became the first British weightlifter in modern times to win a medal in the world championships.

The second British weightlifter who failed a drugs test, Andrew Saxton, also aged 25, is not in the same class. He competed in the world junior championships in 1987 and finished eighth in the 100kg class, but has never managed to better that achievement.

The news of their ban shocked Den Welch, the Welsh national coach. 'To all of us, Andrew Davies was Mr Clean,' he said. 'It was not only the image and the personality; it was the feeling that he did not touch drugs. One has this feeling after many years. He was a model for the kids, and I can't really believe that that's happened to him.'

Shortly before the Olympics, Davies had insisted that he would never take drugs. 'It's not you who lift the weight, but the hormones,' he said of weightlifters who had taken drugs. 'You never know how good you are. That's why I would never touch them. It was a question of pride for myself and David Morgan (another leading Welsh weightlifter) to prove that we can do it without drugs.'

The news of Davies's positive test will have delivered a blow to his family, who helped him train full-time for the Olympics.

His mother, Nancy Davies, spoke two months prior to the Olympics of her shock in 1990, when two other Welsh weightlifters, Gareth Hynes and Ricky Chaplin, tested positive at the Commonwealth Games and were stripped of their medals.

'When the news broke in Auckland that there were two Welsh lifters who had tested positive, I never thought it could be Andrew,' she said. 'I know how careful he is with every medicine he takes. He will always go and talk to the doctor before he takes a drug. I didn't feel sorry for the lifters. The only people I felt sorry for were their families.'

Both weightlifters returned to Britain yesterday. Saxton, who proclaimed his innocence and announced that he would appeal against the verdict, was at his home in Oxford, while Davies, who lives near Newport in Gwent, was said to be staying with relatives in Torquay.

Drug taking has been rife in weightlifting in recent years and measures have been taken to try to clean up the sport.

According to International Weightlifting Federation rules, if more than two competitors from one country fail drug tests, that country can be banned from international competition. However, an IWF spokesman in Barcelona said that Britain was unlikely to be banned because the two failed a test run by their own Sports Council rather than the IWF.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most