Athletics: Johnson hired to train Gaddafi's son

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The Independent Online
BEN JOHNSON, who was stripped of his 1988 Seoul Olympics 100m gold medal after testing positive for steroids, will be hired to train Al-Saad Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and a member of the national football team, Libya's Italian coach said yesterday.

Speaking in the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, before a friendly match against Malawi, their coach Eugenio Bersellini said that Johnson and a German trainer, whom he did not name, would work on the personal fitness of Gadaffi for 90 days.

"Al-Saad is hiring Ben Johnson," Bersellini said. "He would like to see what Johnson can achieve with him personally and then maybe he will consider an arrangement for the team."

Libyan officials said Johnson would attempt to do with Gadaffi what he did with the Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona, who he helped train for a comeback in 1997. They also said the massage therapist Yosuf Omar and the coaches Armando Costa and Raul Maradona would work alongside Johnson.

The Canadian sprinter is due to arrive in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on 15 December. There was no confirmation of what the deal was worth but Libyan sources said $400,000 (pounds 240,000) was being considered.