Athletics: Sprinter to pursue appeal on drug ban

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JASON LIVINGSTON'S legal advisers indicated yesterday that his appeal against a four-year suspension for drug abuse will go ahead despite his admission in a Sunday newspaper that he may have taken steroids unwittingly in a food supplement drink shortly before the Olympic Games in Barcelona last year.

Roger Butler, the London- based solicitor who is handling Livingston's case, said the main thrust of the 21-year-old sprinter's defence was still that the positive drug test he gave before the Olympics was 'unreliable'.

'At the moment, Jason's appeal is still going ahead,' Butler said, adding that he would be meeting his client later in the week to discuss the latest developments. The British Athletic Federation has always maintained that athletes have to take full responsibility for any banned substances they take, and that ignorance is no defence in such cases.

'To some extent, what he is supposed to have said was new,' Butler said. 'But I don't think it takes away from the main argument on our part which has always been about the reliability of the test. We say that the information we have seen regarding the test isn't sufficient to establish the fact that he took drugs.'

Meanwhile John Lister, David Bedford and Peter Radford, respectively treasurer, secretary and vice chirman of the British Athletic Federation, who were censured by the BAF Council for their part in conducting a no- confidence vote in the chief executive, Malcolm Jones, have been assured by the BAF chairman, Bill Evans, that references made by the Federation's press officer to them being an 'inner clique' were 'inadvertent and inaccurate.'

Elana Meyer won the battle between South Africa's two top middle-distance runners when she comfortably beat Zola Pieterse (nee Budd) over 3,000 metres at a meeting in Stellenbosch yesterday. Meyer, the 10,000 metres Olympic silver medallist, finished in 8mins 51.65secs, almost nine seconds ahead of Pieterse who clocked 9:00.51.