Commonwealth Games: Edwards is drawn into drug storm: Shot putter subjected to series of dope tests

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The Independent Online
PAUL EDWARDS, at the centre of drug allegations in Canada last night, denied he had ever used banned substances. 'Obviously not,' the Englsh shot putter said when asked if he had taken drugs.

But speaking here from the hospital where he is being treated for a bowel complaint, Edwards did admit he had been told there was something wrong. 'I've no notification of a failed drugs test but I was told by Alan Lindop, the team manager, that there was a problem with my test in Helsinki,' Edwards said.

Caroline Searle, spokeswoman for the England team, referred all enquiries to the British Athletic Federation. However, Lindop confirmed that an English athlete had tested positive on the A-sample, the analysis of the first of two parts of the athlete's specimen. He refused to name the athlete. Under the rules of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, an athlete is not guilty until both A and B samples have shown to be positive.

Edwards was tested three times in five days earlier this month. He was required to provide a sample after failing to reach the final of the European Championships in Helsinki. Two days later, a drug test team visited him in the athletes village. He was then tested again by the Sports Council the day he left for these Games. 'No one could give me a reason why I was tested so much,' Edwards said. He added he had been tested 'between 15 and 16 times' this year.

When he was once asked if he would ever consider using drugs, he replied: 'No, it would bring disgrace on to myself and my family.'

In Helsinki two weeks ago, the British sprinter Solomon Wariso had to withdraw from the European Championships after it emerged that traces of ephedrine had been found in his urine. He is now serving a three-month ban.

All the talk of drug abuse once again threatened to overshadow sporting achievements, like Nick Gillingham's gold medal in the 200 metres breaststroke. His victory on Monday represented more than just the relief and joy an athlete felt at winning his first Commonwealth Game's title.

'This win reflects the promise I made to my father Frank,' he said 'The last thing I said to him before he died on February 8th is that I would win the Commonwealth Games.

'He was the guy who said if I stick with swimming I would be the best. The family went without a holiday for nine years so I could pursue the sport.'

Gillingham was in determined mood and led from the hooter. Rogers was within half a body length coming into the last turn, but Gillingham kicked away with 30 metres left. He tied up with the wall in sight, but won by more than a second. His time of 2min 12.54sec was a Games record.