Drugs in Sport: Shot putter Edwards is banned for life

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The Independent Online
THE shot putter Paul Edwards yesterday called for the drug-testing system to be overhauled after becoming the first British athlete to be banned for life for failing two drugs tests.

The 39-year-old Edwards, who launched an appeal within 15 minutes of the British Athletic Federation's announcement of his suspension, said: "I feel this is a bad day for sport and I have to warn all athletes who might be tested that they face a similar occurrence until the system is radically upgraded."

Edwards made 47 international appearances over 18 years and tested negative on nearly 50 occasions in 10 years. However, he was sent home from the Commonwealth Games in Victoria four years ago after allegedly twice taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Following his return from Victoria, Edwards was hospitalised for several days, when he was seriously ill.

The 1990 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist later claimed the test showed no traces of any drugs, but he was still banned for four years after having his appeal overruled in the High Court.

Edwards requested another drugs test himself in June last year, when his ban was coming to an end, but the BAF chairman, David Moorcroft, revealed that there was an unacceptable proportion of testosterone in it.

BAF's three-strong disciplinary panel, meeting in Birmingham, deliberated for four hours before deciding that Edwards had been unable to provide a satisfactory explanation. They rejected his insistence that the test was flawed because his urine sample was not refrigerated properly for two days.