Athletics: American body backs Reynolds

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THE governing body for United States athletics last night ranged itself against its international counterpart, pledging to oppose any attempt by the International Amateur Athletic Federation to suspend Butch Reynolds further.

The world 400 metres record- holder, who has been granted more than pounds 18m worth of damages from the IAAF by an Ohio court, is currently serving an extended ban following a positive drug test in 1990 which he maintains was incorrect.

'The IAAF can do what they want to do,' Reynolds said, 'but after their vindictive suspension ends on 1 January, I'm running. Come hell or high water, I am going to get on the track.'

Following Reynolds's recent legal action, the IAAF said it was considering the possibility of commencing proceedings against him for libel and taking further disciplinary action.

Reynolds said he was surprised by the IAAF's comments. 'The federal court is protecting me. That makes them (the IAAF) in contempt of court. They will go to jail if they step foot in the United States.'

The resolution supporting Reynolds was one of 21 voted on during a three-hour session in Louisville by the US body, which is changing its name after 12 years as The Athletics Congress to USA Track and Field.

They also asked that the IAAF abandon the contamination rule and instead rely on alternative sanctions currently in IAAF rules.

Under the contamination rule, any athlete who competes against an IAAF-suspended athlete such as was the case with Reynolds at the Olympic trials last summer would also be suspended for that action.