Athletics: Edwards reprieved

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The Independent Online
Paul Edwards, Britain's No 1 shot putter, is to escape a life ban from athletics despite testing positive in two drugs tests, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Although no official statement has yet been made confirming the second positive test, Edwards is understood to have waived his right to a hearing and faces a four-year ban. But a life ban, the statutory punishment for a second serious offence, is not applicable in this case because the tests were taken in the space of three days, and Edwards did not know the result of the first when the second was conducted.

The British Athletic Federation had last night still made no official announcement about the 35-year-old national champion a week after his second test was - like the first - confirmed by a B sample analysis.

'We have to get the agreement of all parties concerned and at the moment we do not have that agreement,' the BAF spokesman, Tony Ward, said .

Last month Edwards called a news conference to protest his innocence, saying: 'I categorically deny knowingly taking any banned substances at any time during my career.'

The first positive came at the European Championships in Helsinki in August.

The second was two days later, after he returned home and was visited by Sports Council testers.