UK Athletics says it has more evidence to say IAAF wrong to ban stars

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The Independent Online

After an IAAF arbitration panel rejected its evidence in the cases of Linford Christie and two other British athletes, UK Athletics said today it had more proof that the banned steroid nandrolone can be produced naturally in the body.

After an IAAF arbitration panel rejected its evidence in the cases of Linford Christie and two other British athletes, UK Athletics said today it had more proof that the banned steroid nandrolone can be produced naturally in the body.

Britain's track federation said it carried out tests on 11 volunteers who took legitimate dietary supplements which had no prohibited substances.

After a session of heavy exercise, seven of the 11 tested positive for nandrolone by up to 15 times the level accepted by the sport's world governing body, the IAAF, UK Athletics said.

UK Athletics said the tests proved it was correct in exonerating 1992 Olympic 100-meter gold medalist Christie, European 200-meter champion Doug Walker and 400-meter hurdler Gary Cadogan.

Banning all three athletes for two years Monday, the IAAF arbitration panel rejected the evidence put forward by UK Athletics and declared that the federation was wrong to have cleared them.

Although Christie and Cadogan have retired from competition, Walker remains an active athlete. Christie faces the possibility of being stopped from coaching his athletes at the Sydney Olympics.

Mark Richardson, a fourth British runner who tested positive for nandrolone, hopes to use the same evidence when his case goes to arbitration before next month's games.

Winner of the 400 meters at the British Olympic trials and a strong medal hope, Richardson will miss the games if the panel rules against him.

All four runners have declared their innocence but Richardson knows there is no appeal against the arbitration panel ruling.

"UK Athletics believes the IAAF should have waited for more details before condemning the three athletes," the British federation said in a statement.

"To put it in perspective, one nanogram of nandrolone is equivalent to one billionth of a gram and, if two nanograms are found in a male's sample or five in a female's, an athlete is deemed to have taken an illegal, performance-enhancing steroid."

Meanwhile Christie, who is in Sydney preparing for the arrival of the athletes he is coaching, was waiting to hear whether the British Olympic Association would grant him a credential to be at the games.

"We are working through all the issues and hope to be able to make a decision as soon as possible," BOA spokesman Philip Pope said.

"There are complex issues at stake here and we need to be able to look at all the angles and all the issues before we make a decision in the interest of the athletes and the person concerned."

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