Athletics: Jones defiant over European ban attempts

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The Independent Online

Marion Jones claimed yesterday that attempts to ban her from competing in Europe this season were "ridiculous".

Marion Jones claimed yesterday that attempts to ban her from competing in Europe this season were "ridiculous".

The three-times Olympic gold medallist, who will make her European debut at the FBK Games in Hengelo in the Netherlands tomorrow, has been linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroid scandal in the United States.

The athlete has never failed a test and denies ever using performance-enhancing substances.

"My story hasn't changed," she said. "I'm not charged with anything. For there to be a so-called boycott, I think it's absolutely ridiculous."

Jones has been shunned by many European meet organisers since being linked to the Balco case. The Euro Meetings Group, which represents many of Europe's top meets, has recommended not inviting her to any events.

Jones, who won three gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is scheduled to run in the 100 metres at Hengelo, and then race in the same event on Wednesday at the Grand Prix Regione Lombardia in Milan, Italy.

"I should be invited to every meet," Jones said. "It'll come down to the meets. If they want to have the best in the world, and they don't invite me, they'll be letting themselves down."

Jones, who won five medals at the Sydney Games but failed to win any in Athens last year, said: "Because people say negative things about you, you're not going to run away and hide. I love competing."

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