Athletics: Chambers' trainer is indicted in steroids trial

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The Independent Online

The "designer steroid" scandal deepened yesterday as a federal grand jury in San Francisco charged four people on 42 counts of distributing banned steroids and growth hormones. One of those indicted is Remi Korchemny, the trainer of the British athlete Dwain Chambers, while the personal trainer of Barry Bonds, the holder of baseball's single-season home run record, was also charged.

The "designer steroid" scandal deepened yesterday as a federal grand jury in San Francisco charged four people on 42 counts of distributing banned steroids and growth hormones. One of those indicted is Remi Korchemny, the trainer of the British athlete Dwain Chambers, while the personal trainer of Barry Bonds, the holder of baseball's single-season home run record, was also charged.

The accusations are the climax of a six-month investigation of what has become a global sports drugs scandal. Already it has led to the ban of five top athletes, including Chambers, amid allegations that they used the so-called "designer steroid" tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG.

Five stars of the Oakland Raiders in the National Football League also failed tests for THG, a steroid which was only identified by sports drug regulators last year.

Indicted along with Korchemny and Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, were Victor Conte, the owner of BALCO Laboratories, near San Francisco, which has been linked to the distribution of THG - Conte denies his company is the source of the drug - and the company vice-president Jim Valente. They are expected to appear in court today.

A series of leading athletes, including Marion Jones and the super-welterweight boxing champion, Shane Mosley, as well as Bonds himself, testified to the grand jury. But prosecutors have said that none of the three is a target of the probe.

Bonds has been a client of BALCO, which specialises in nutritional supplements, since before the 2001 season. For all his denials, there have long been suspicions that the visible physical bulking-up of the 39-year-old was due to more than sound dietary habits.

According to the indictment, Conte and the other three "conspired to distribute performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, erythropoietin (EPO) and modafinil, to dozens of professional athletes". The indictment did not name the athletes involved, but said they included professional baseball, American football and track and field performers.

The storm swirls particularly fiercely around baseball. Several former stars have publicly claimed that between 20 and 50 per cent of major leaguers use steroids and last year the sport introduced stricter testing and punishment rules.

Last night Conte's lawyers said they had been expecting the indictments and planned to fight the charges vigorously.

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