Athletics: Arbitration panel may favour Krabbe: German former world sprint champion appeals against drug ban

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The Independent Online
KATRIN KRABBE is by no means guaranteed a happy 24th birthday on Monday, for that is when she will discover if she has won her lengthy battle to run again.

In Monte Carlo over the next three days, the International Amateur Athletic Association's arbitration panel will assess appeals by Germany's double world sprint champion of 1991, along with her compatriots, Grit Breuer and Manuela Derr, against a two-year ban for using clenbuterol, banned as a stimulant yet promoted by the Underground Steroid Handbook for its muscle-building qualities and source of much division in sporting circles. The German athletics body, the DLV, has also asked the panel to quash the sentences.

Krabbe had already served a one-year suspension last August when, on the eve of the World Athletics Championships in Stuttgart, the IAAF Council suspended her for a further two years for admitting using clenbuterol and thus 'bringing the sport into disrepute'. The offence, however, was changed, since under German law Krabbe could not be banned for more than a year for the offence. A technicality spared Krabbe a four-year ban following a random test early in 1992, but she was caught using clenbuterol that July.

Encouragingly for Krabbe, two of the three members of the arbitration panel, Robert Ellicott, a former Australian Attorney-General, and Lauri Tarasti, junior judicial secretary of Finland's Ministry of Education, ruled in January, 1992 that she had no case to answer. On that occasion, Krabbe, Breuer and Silke Moller, herself a double world sprint champion in 1987, returned identical urine samples following random tests, whereupon the DLV's legal commission overturned a four-year ban because German law prohibited such tests.

Decisions by the arbitration panel have no right of appeal. Should Krabbe and Co lose, their only remaining course of action would be to sue the IAAF, a body still grappling with a ruling by an Ohio court that Harry 'Butch' Reynolds, the 400m world record holder, be awarded pounds 27m to cover loss of earnings during his drug ban.