Jamaicans clear Ottey of doping allegations

A Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association appeals panel has cleared the sprinter Merlene Ottey of illegal use of drugs.

A Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association appeals panel has cleared the sprinter Merlene Ottey of illegal use of drugs.

The body's president, Adrian Wallace, said: "The panel has made a decision that Merlene Ottey is not guilty of a doping offence.

"The JAAA will have a meeting after the events of the hearing have been put in writing, which I will present to the JAAA, and the JAAA will then pass it on to the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

"The important thing is going to be how the panel came to their decision. We're sure the IAAF is going to want to know the details of how they came to their decision, and that is why the panel is going to meet again, just to put it on paper, to summarise their findings."

The 39-year-old Ottey returned a positive test for nandrolone at a meeting on 5 July at Lucerne, Switzerland. She walked out of August's World Championships in Seville, Spain, after news of the positive test became public. She vowed there had been a "terrible mistake" and pledged to clear her name.

On 15 September, the JAAA said that the B sample of Ottey's test was also positive.

Ottey ran her first Olympics in 1980 in Moscow and in 1983 began amassing her record haul of World Championship medals by taking silver in the 200m.

Since 1983 she has collected 14 world championship medals, including two golds - four more than American legend Carl Lewis. Ottey's positive test came less than a month after Britain's former Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie tested positive for the same drug.

The two surprising high-profile cases prompted some of the sport's top athletes to question the testing procedures. "I don't think I am 100 per cent certain we have the correct testing system," the US sprinter Marion Jones said in Seville.

Maurice Greene, the 100m world record holder, also called for the introduction of blood testing, rather than the current urine testing, to trace banned drugs "Blood testing will be the best thing. I believe it will be in place for the Sydney Olympics. I can't wait till Sydney," he said in Seville.

Ottey's illustrious career began in 1979, when she started competing at national level for Jamaica.

The five-time Olympian, who throughout the course of her career has claimed seven medals in the world's most prestigious event, has reportedly been tested close to 100 times during her career. The July test was her first positive result.

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