Athletics: White to lose Paris medals as positive drug test confirmed

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The Independent Online

Kelli White's doping infraction at the recent World Championships in Paris was confirmed yesterday by the sport's international governing body, which intends to disqualify her retrospectively and strip her of the 100 and 200 metres gold medals she won in Paris. She also stands to lose the $120,000 (£75,000) prize money she picked up.

After examining details of the 26-year-old American's case, the International Association of Athletics Federations found her guilty of taking a minor stimulant. A final ruling could take weeks or months, however, as the case now goes to the US Anti-Doping Agency, which must schedule a hearing with White. If the US body decides not to disqualify White and remove the medals, the IAAF would take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

White, the first American woman to win both sprints at a World Championships, tested positive for modafinil after winning the 100m gold on 24 August. She passed a drug test after winning the 200m four days later. The IAAF gave White until yesterday to produce medical documents explaining her use of modafinil. She said she took the medication on prescription from her personal doctor for the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

"The explanation has been studied and turned down," Istvan Gyulai, the IAAF secretary, said. "The IAAF has reached the conclusion she has committed a doping offence. Our experts have determined the stimulant is performance-enhancing."

Modafinil is not named on the sport's list of banned drugs, but the IAAF says it falls under the category of "related substances".

White denied taking the medication to enhance performance and said she had "no idea" it contained a banned substance. However, she did not declare the substance on her doping control form as required or apply for a medical exemption to use the product.

The IAAF ruled last week that modafinil was a minor stimulant, similar to ephedrine, and carried a penalty of a public warning and disqualification. The decision allowed White to continue competing. Had modafinil - sold in the United States under the brand name Provigil - been classified as a stronger stimulant, White also would have faced a two-year ban and ineligibility for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

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