IAAF threat to Lisbon laboratory

Athletics

Athletics

MIKE ROWBOTTOM

The Lisbon laboratory which conducted the doping test on Diane Modahl looks increasingly likely to have its official status revoked in the wake of strong criticism from the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

In dropping the case against Modahl on Monday, the IAAF expressed "grave concern" about the way her sample had been stored, and the Portuguese facility faces losing its place as one of the 24 laboratories accredited by the International Olympic Committee to conduct drug-testing worldwide.

A source within the IAAF hinted yesterday that Lisbon's status may be in doubt, and more stringent procedures were being considered. But the official line was that nothing was being decided until the IOC had studied IAAF reports over the case.

Dr Patrick Schamasch, director of the IOC medical commission, confirmed yesterday that Lisbon had fulfilled all the requirements of the annual accreditation process last April, but refused to comment on how the laboratory stood in the light of IAAF criticism.

Two other laboratories have had their accreditation revoked in recent years - both for non-technical matters. Kreische, in East Germany, had its status downgraded in the wake of the unification of Germany and revelations of organised doping for DDR athletes. It has since been re-accredited. The laboratory at Ghent is awaiting re-accreditation following a conflict of regulations between its national body and the IAAF.

The IAAF came under fire yesterday from its former spokesman Christopher Winner. Winner, who left the IAAF last year, claimed its decision over Modahl was motivated by money, given that the president, Primo Nebiolo, had made it clear he wanted fewer legal wrangles and arbitration cases after the expensive Butch Reynolds affair.

"At the time of her original ban the IAAF already knew that doubt and confusion were dominant in the case," Winner said. "Still, they pressed ahead in what became a fierce and futile medical tug-of-war. The IAAF could have ended the ordeal with the same phrase uttered nearly two years later - `serious element of doubt'. At the time, however, financial considerations were less pressing upon the governing body and they chose to maintain a hard line. Since it was always billed as a watershed case about drugs and drugs-testing, the way it was conducted and the way it has been closed is cavalier and shameful."

In the meantime, William Hill are giving odds of 33-1 on Modahl winning the Olympic 800 metres title. Eric Hughes, her team manager at Sale Harriers, had a more conservative prediction: "I'm absolutely sure you will see Diane in Atlanta. She has felt betrayed and it's not surprising in view of the torment she has been put through.

"But I think she realises only a very small percentage have been against her and the vast majority of people were convinced of her innocence. Diane has the courage and strength to show the world she is still a fine athlete."

Modahl, who has not competed internationally since the summer of 1994, has had only two outings since winning her appeal - a road race and a cross-country relay. Her husband and coach, Vicente, has been satisfied with her progress. "She is in the sort of shape she would normally be in at this time of the year," he said. "She will definitely run the Olympic trial, even if her feelings about the BAF make it difficult."

In the light of her on-going legal battle with the BAF for pounds 480,000 in compensation, it is the mental, rather than the physical adjustment which may prove hardest for her as she seeks an 800m place alongside Britain's world bronze medallist, Kelly Holmes. Tony Ward, spokesman for the BAF, said: "We hope she can return to top-class competition. She would be welcomed back into the team."

The BAF insist they will defend the action "vigorously". They want the IAAF to share their costs of around pounds 200,000 and to pay the fees of both sides since last October for not immediately accepting Modahl's successful London appeal against a four-year ban. Modahl's solicitor, Tony Morton- Hooper, has also called on the IAAF "to make amends for what has happened to her". The IAAF are showing no inclination to pay up.

Du'Aine Ladejo, Britain's European 400m champion, has called for a fund to be established for athletes in Modahl's position. "To test positive and know that you are innocent is an athlete's biggest nightmare," he said. "She has lost everything. There needs to be a fund of some sort set up to help her."

Ladejo maintained that the onus of making good the costs Modahl has incurred in her 18-month battle to clear her name was heavily on the IAAF. "No one can be exonerated in a case like this and not be refunded," he said. "The BAF seem to have followed the right procedures."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £40,000

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Contracts / Sales Administrator

£19500 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Knowledge of and ability to use...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Engineer - Powered Access

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence