Lee set for Olympics after lifetime ban is lifted

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The swimmer Donna Lee has won her appeal against a British Olympic Association ruling that barred her from being selected for the Sydney Games. Lee was handed a lifetime ban after traces of Salbutamol - a drug commonly prescribed to treat asthma - were found in her urine sample at the US Olympic Cup in San Diego last year.

A BOA by-law states that any person found guilty of a doping offence is ineligible for consideration as a future Great Britain swimming squad member. But the BOA's independent appeals panel restored Lee's eligibility with immediate affect on the basis that "the offence was minor and that significant mitigating circumstances existed in relation to the doping offence".

The BOA's chief executive, Simon Clegg, said: "Donna Lee's case highlights the need for all athletes to take special care in complying with all the relevant procedures."

In Berlin, the former 5,000 metres Olympic champion Dieter Baumann, who was suspended after testing positive for nandrolone, said yesterday he had not given up hope of taking part in the Sydney Olympics in September. "I am totally innocent," the German runner said. "I want to prove that I am a clean athlete."

Baumann was speaking after a German court said it had agreed to study his appeal against a legal decision not to allow him to resume competing.

"I rest my hopes on this court," he said, of the appeal hearing which will be held in Frankfurt. "It is only to be expected that they are seeking a verbal explanation."