Banned Christie withdraws Olympic credential application

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The Independent Online

Branded a drugs cheat by the IAAF, Linford Christie won't be at the Sydney Olympics as a coach.

Branded a drugs cheat by the IAAF, Linford Christie won't be at the Sydney Olympics as a coach.

The 1992 Olympic 100 meters gold medalist, who tested positive while running for fun at an indoor meet in February last year, on Friday withdrew his application for an Olympic coaching credential.

His decision avoided the embarrassment of being refused one by the British Olympic Association.

"I have made the difficult decision of informing UK Athletics to take the necessary steps to withdraw my application for a personal coach's accreditation in Sydney," Christie said in a statement through his agent, Nuff Respect.

"The decision comes after much thought and following a conversation with my athletes who I feel will suffer from the media circus which is likely to surround my presence in Sydney."

Christie, who dominated 100-meter sprinting in the early 1990s and also won the World Championship title in 1993, was due to go to Sydney to coach European 100m champion Darren Campbell and 400m runners Jamie Baulch and Katherine Merry.

"My main priority remains the same as it has been since this nightmare began which is to prepare Darren, Katherine and Jamie for the Olympic Games," said Christie, who has always said he never intentionally took any banned substances yet had a level of nandrolone in his sample which was 100 times the IAAF accepted level.

"I have asked my own coach, Ron Roddan, to accompany the athletes during their preparations and be my eyes and voice during this important time.

"I have complete confidence in Ron and the athletes' ability and look forward to them returning to Britain with some medals around their necks."

The BOA said it would withdraw the credential request.

"Linford Christie has acted professionally and in the interests of his athletes," said BOA chairman Craig Reedie.

On Monday the IAAF banned Christie for two years dating back to the February, 1999 test at Dortmund, Germany.

The British track federation, UK Athletics, had argued during the four-day hearing in Monte Carlo that nandrolone could be produced naturally through perfectly legal dietary supplements combined with vigorous exercise.

But the IAAF arbitration panel rejected its evidence and said UK Athletics was wrong to clear him.

The arbitration panel also imposed two-year bans on two more British athletes, European 200-meter champion Doug Walker and retired 400-meter hurdler Gary Cadogan who also tested positive for nandrolone.

A fourth British athlete to test positive for nandrolone, 400-meter runner Mark Richardson, faces an arbitration hearing before next month's Olympics. Although he faces suspension, the IAAF has allowed him to compete in the meantime.