Drugs In Sport: Nandrolone may be in food chain

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The Independent Online
UK SPORT is investigating the possibility that recent cases of positive nandrolone tests among athletes have risen up through the food chain.

The sprinters Linford Christie, Dougie Walker and Gary Cadogan have all recently been cleared of drug abuse by their national governing body, UK Athletics, despite having tested positive for nandrolone. UK Sport, formerly the Sports Council, has formed a committee to investigate the spate of positive tests for the banned anabolic steroid.

UK Sport is consulting the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries over the use of steroids in farming as a possible source of the existence of the drug in athletes. "UK Sport has set up the committee because competitors are entitled to know the testing procedure is sound," Michele Verokken, UK Sport's Head of Ethics and Anti-doping, said. "At present we believe the test is correct but the important thing is that athletes believe it is correct as well."

Verokken admitted the possibility of a link between the food chain and positive nandrolone tests, despite the fact the use of steroids in farming is illegal. "It is one of the issues we are considering and we are also looking closely at the emergence of food supplements because they are unregulated and unmonitored."

Christie, Walker and Cadogan still face investigation by the athletics world governing body, the International Amateur Athletic Federation. Although UK Athletics accepted the three athlete's evidence - that they had no idea how the drugs got into their bodies - the IAAF are unconvinced.

Christophe Dugarry, the Marseilles footballer who failed a test for nandrolone in April, will not be punished by the French football federation because of a procedural error - the doctor who performed the test was not qualified to do so.

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