Athletics: Ohuruogu appeals against bans for missed drug tests

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The Independent Online

Christine Ohuruogu has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the one-year ban imposed by UK Athletics last month for missing three out-of-competition doping tests. She will also appeal to the British Olympic Association over her lifetime ban from the Olympics.

The 22-year-old Commonwealth 400 metres champion, whose ban was confirmed by an independent disciplinary committee last month, is following the accepted procedure for appeals by asking the CAS to overturn her punishment. Her hearing will take place in Lausanne, although she is not expected to attend.

While the UKA ban is something Ohuruogu will be keen to challenge, it is the Olympic ban - automatically activated through a BOA by-law established in 1992 - that is most damaging to an athlete touted as a potential local heroine at the 2012 London Games, given that she lives less than a mile from the proposed stadium in Stratford.

The disciplinary committee concluded she had no valid excuse for breaking the rule established in July last year requiring athletes to be available for a designated hour, in five out of seven days, for testing. But the committee stated at the time that the infraction was "minor and unintentional", which may offer some scope in her appeal to the BOA.

Since 1996, the BOA has heard 25 appeals, of which only three have failed. The athletes Carl Myerscough and Janine Whitlock, who both tested positive for steroids, were turned down, as was the swimmer Mike Fibbens, who tested positive for cocaine.

Ohuruogu will no doubt be watching with interest for the BOA's judgement upon the judo player Peter Cousins, who is the first to have appealed against its by-law having missed three tests. A decision is expected before Christmas.