British athletes suspended

Former Olympic 100-meter champion Linford Christie and two other British athletes were suspended for two years Monday after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.

Former Olympic 100-meter champion Linford Christie and two other British athletes were suspended for two years Monday after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.

The decision, made by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, also affected European 200-meter champion Doug Walker and 400-meter hurdler Gary Cadogan.

Although Christie and Cadogan are retired, Walker will be unable to compete.

The IAAF also decided to send the case of 400-meter runner Mark Richardson, who also tested positive for nandrolone, to arbitration. The IAAF said the hearing should take place before the Sydney Olympics, which start Sept. 15.

Richardson, who won the 400 at the British Olympic trials eight days ago, will have to await the outcome of the hearing to learn whether he can compete in Sydney.

A three-man arbitration panel, appointed by the world governing body of the sport, spent four days hearing evidence for and against Christie, Walker and Cadogan.

All three declared their innocence and were cleared by the British federation UK Athletics but the IAAF maintained their suspensions internationally pending the arbitration hearing. But the panel members, Christoph Vedder of Germany, Lin Kok Loh of Singapore and Monty Hacker of South Africa, said UK Athletics was wrong to clear them.

ÒThe arbitration panel believes that UK Athletics misdirected itself and reached an erroneous conclusion when clearing these athletes,Ó an IAAF statement said.

The panel imposed two-year suspensions ÿ Cadogan's dating from Nov. 28, 1998, Walker's dating from Dec. 1, 1998, and Christie's from Feb. 13, 1999.

The IAAF said the accepted level of nandrolone in men has been fixed at 2 nanograms per milliliter. In Cadogan's case the level was 10.6, Walker's was 12.59 and Christie's was 200 ÿ 100 times over the accepted level.

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