Athletics: Unnamed British trio have failed drug tests

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BRITISH ATHLETICS is facing another crisis of confidence following the news that three more unnamed runners have provided adverse doping tests, one of them involving a nandrolone finding.

The information, published in UK Sport's annual report on doping controls, will keep the doping issue uncomfortably high on the agenda for a federation which has had to cope with three high-profile doping cases in the last six months involving Linford Christie, Doug Walker and Gary Cadogan.

All three of these UK athletes, whose tests indicated the presence of nandrolone metabolites in their urine samples, have since been cleared by the domestic body, although the International Amateur Athletic Federation is considering overturning the acquittals.

The dramatic rise in test findings indicating metabolites of nandrolone - a banned anabolic agent - has prompted UK Sport to launch a comprehensive investigation. In the meantime, UK Sport have cut across the UK Athletics policy of confidentiality by publishing details of doping cases involving three athletes whom the domestic body are unwilling to identify unless and until any guilt has been established. None are believed to be athletes at a comparable level to either Christie or Walker.

Jayne Pearce, UK Athletics spokesperson, confirmed yesterday that one athlete had produced adverse nandrolone findings, another had produced a positive finding for stanozolol, the steroid which caused Ben Johnson to be stripped of his Olympic 100m gold medal in 1988, and a third had shown abnormal testosterone levels in two tests. Of the three, only the case involving stanozolol was likely to proceed to the point where a UK committee would decide whether there was a case to answer. Both the others, Pearce said, were unlikely to reach this preliminary stage as there were indications that the findings had been caused by medical conditions.

UK Sport also indicated that one British athlete refused to give a sample to testing officers. The figures released by the doping commission showed an increase in the number of findings for anabolic agents within UK sport as a whole from 13 last year to 20 this year. Of the 5,147 tests carried out in the year until April 1999 by UK Sport, 98.5 per cent were negative.