Athletics: Sweden plays down 'doping' stash

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The Independent Online

Swedish doping authorities yesterday hinted that the bags of syringes, bottles, phials and tubes discovered dumped in and around two Gothenburg hotels the day after the European Championships ended may not have been used in illegal activity.

Police investigating the case are due to release the results of a full analysis today, but Jan Engstrom, of Sweden's Anti-Doping Agency, said yesterday: "It looks like it is rather innocent - it's only vitamins. When the head of our Stockholm laboratory, Mats Garle, was shown pictures of the cartons, his spontaneous reaction was that this is innocent material."

Engstrom said that two or three "cartons" had been found in public bins near two of the hotels which hosted teams at the Championships. The first was the German team hotel while the second, the Scandic Opalen, housed competitors from Bosnia, Malta, Gibraltar, Montenegro, Poland and Russia. Several other bags containing syringes and packets were found in bins inside rooms at the Scandic Opalen, Engstrom added. He confirmed that some of the writing on the packets was in Russian.

Stefan Gadd, media officer for the Swedish organising committee, said the equipment found "had been used", but added, "according to the police it will be almost impossible to connect these things to any particular person".

Darren Campbell has confirmed that he will retire within the week. The 32-year-old Manchester sprinter, currently in Beijing as a mentor to British athletes taking part in the World Junior Championships, said: "I've got one more competition in Falkirk on Thursday but I'm not sure if I'll take part in the Norwich Union Games in Birmingham [19-20 August]," he said. "But if I do, that's it."

Campbell has also revealed that the reason he retired from the sport at the age of 21, and played football with Plymouth Argyle and Newport County before returning to athletics in 1995, was because he had been told that taking drugs was the only way of reaching the top.

"I was 21 and it made me retire from the sport," said Campbell, who was a double European junior champion and world junior 100 metres and 200m silver medallist. "To me, if those were the lengths I would have to go to be the best I didn't want any part of it."

Campbell has reiterated his calls for Dwain Chambers to say who embroiled him in the doping regime which led to him serving a two-year ban. He has also defended his stance given that his own coach, Linford Christie, tested positive for nandrolone in 1999, pointing out that contaminated nutritional products led to a spate of similar findings at the time.