Athletics: Pole-vaulter Whitlock loses appeal against life ban from Olympics

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The Independent Online

Janine Whitlock yesterday lost her appeal against a life ban from the Olympics following a positive doping test in 2002.

Janine Whitlock yesterday lost her appeal against a life ban from the Olympics following a positive doping test in 2002.

The British pole vault record holder, who was banned for two years after her sample showed traces of the anabolic steroid, methandianone, will return to competition in July, but the British Olympic Association, which bans all those guilty of serious doping offences from the Games under its by-law, has rejected her plea to be allowed to compete in Athens this August.

Whitlock claimed her test result was due to a drink being spiked, but the BOA, one of only three national associations which imposes a life ban from the Games for doping offences, is standing firm.

According to a spokesman, the BOA independent appeals panel found "no significant mitigating circumstances" in Whitlock's case, and came to its decision unanimously.

Whitlock now finds herself in the same territory as her former international colleague Carl Myerscough, whose appeal against a BOA life ban was turned down last July. The shot putter hinted at the World Indoor Championships that he intended to challenge the decision either in the High Court or the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But a BOA spokesman insisted yesterday although there had been a regular exchange of correspondence with Myerscough's legal representatives, nothing definite had happened.

"There are now just 150 days to go until the Athens Olympics and we have had no papers from any court served upon us," the spokesman said.

There is still speculation, too, that Dwain Chambers, who received a two-year ban last month, may choose to contest his life ban under the BOA by-law, which was introduced at the request of the Athletes' Commission in the early 1990s. The BOA, however, believes resolutely that the measure is both widely popular and justified.

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