Athletics: Montgomery career looks over after two-year doping ban

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The Independent Online

Ripples from the federal investigation into the Balco lab doping ring yesterday engulfed Tim Montgomery. The 30-year-old former world 100 metres record holder received a standard two-year doping ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. The US Anti-Doping Authority (Usada) had wanted a four-year ban, but his career still appears to be over. It was the highest-profile doping case since Ben Johnson was banned after winning the 1988 Olympic 100m title.

The decision is ablow for Montgomery's partner Marion Jones, the multiple Olympic and world champion, who has also been accused of doping by the man who ran the Balco lab in San Francisco, Victor Conte, but who has not been charged with any offence.

Chryste Gaines, Montgomery's fellow US sprinter, also received a two-year ban for doping abuse as a result of the investigation, which concluded in October and saw Conte sentenced to four months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to distributing steroids including the recently discovered "designer" drug tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG.

The three-man CAS panel unanimously accepted Usada's evidence before imposing a ban on both sprinters that will start retrospectively from 6 June this year, the first day of the CAS hearing into the case.

CAS also ruled that all Montgomery's results after 31 March 2001, the date from which he admitted taking drugs, should be annulled and his earnings confiscated. Montgomery won $100,000 (£57,000) as grand prix champion in 2002.

Montgomeryadmitted to the Grand Jury in November 2003 that Conte had supplied him with illegal substances over an eight-month period up to summer 2001. He maintained his innocence in public, even after his evidence was leaked in June 2004. Usada was not able to use the confidential evidence, but gained access to other details from records confiscated from the Balco lab by Federal agents and was able to charge Montgomery without a positive test.

Montgomery did not give evidence yesterday. The judgement was influenced by testimony offered by the former double world sprint champion Kelli White, who was suspended for two years for doping abuse connected to the Balco lab. The CAS said Montgomery had told White that he had taken THG.

"Having seen Ms White and heard her testimony... the members of the panel do not doubt the veracity of her evidence," CAS said. "She answered all questions, including in relation to her own record of doping, in a forthright, honest and reasonable manner."

The CAS statement on Gaines said she had also told White she was using THG. Regina Jacobs, the world indoor 1500m record holder, hammer thrower John McEwen and shot-putter Kevin Toth have also been banned. Britain's European 100m champion Dwain Chambers previously received a two-year ban after testing positive for THG administered by Conte.