Drugs storm brews in a teacup

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Athletes have been warned to stop drinking tea and coffee around competitions to avoid the risk of being banned for doping. The German athletics federation has revised its recommendations on refreshments after studying the case of a minor athlete who failed a drug test after drinking coffee.

"No tea or coffee should be drunk at all from before the start of a competition to the time when an athlete provides urine for a doping sample," said the federation, who want to discuss the controversial area of sports medicine with the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

The decision to change the advice to athletes was made after the federation studied the case of a long jumper, Astrid Mannes, who tested positive for caffeine at a minor meeting last year. Mannes claimed she drank only two cups of coffee before the event.

Medical checks on the athlete, who is particularly light in weight, showed that high levels of caffeine could appear in her urine after only a small intake of coffee.