Commonwealth Games: Three face ban for drugs

Click to follow
THE ANNOUNCEMENT that three competitors - two English and one Welsh - may be withdrawn from next month's Commonwealth Games as a result of adverse findings in recent drug tests, has served only to highlight the variations in anti-doping rules, even within Britain.

While England and Wales have rules prohibiting the selection of anyone who has been caught using drugs, the Scotland team going to Kuala Lumpur will include a weightlifter who has been suspended following a doping rules offence.

It was confirmed yesterday that Paul Supple, a former national champion 94kg category weightlifter from Manchester, and Gary Edwards, a sprint cyclist from Ilford, had both been reported for adverse testosterone findings, while the 77kg Welsh weightlifter, Andrew Goswell, had tested positive for stanozolol, the same anabolic steroid used by Ben Johnson when winning the 100 metres at the 1988 Olympics.

Yet while Supple, Edwards and Goswell await the outcome of further sample analyses, with their hopes of competing in Kuala Lumpur in grave doubt, Allan Ogilvie, Scotland's 56kg weightlifter, is able to pack his bags for Malaysia. Ogilvie, a Commonwealth medallist in 1986 and 1990, has served a suspension for refusing to take a test. He has since been reinstated, although he was also banned from using the facilities at Edinburgh's Meadowbank sports centre after he was implicated in circulating a steroid price list. But because the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland does not have the same anti-drugs rules as those in Wales or England, the Scots have been able to include Ogilvie in their team. Colin McEachran, the Scottish council's chairman, said: "It is a matter of some concern, but having served his ban, one hopes the message has got through."

Four years ago, at meetings prior to the last Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Scotland put forward a proposal to introduce a life ban on all competitors who had broken the anti-doping rules. The Scots proposal was rejected. England and Wales both introduced an element of self-regulation, with rules that exclude drug offenders from consideration for their teams, even a suspension has been served. As a result, England weightlifter Peter May, who has broken Commonwealth records since serving a ban for drug use, was not nominated for the Kuala Lumpur team.

In the cases of Supple, Edwards and Goswell, only the A sample of each competitor has been analysed so far. Caroline Searle, spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Games Council for England, said that Supple and Edwards would be dropped from the England team if the B sample analyses confirm the A findings.

Supple, Edwards and Goswell were all caught in a pre-Games "dragnet" of more than 300 drug tests conducted by the UK Sports Council.