Lisbon officials defend actions

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The Independent Online
Athletics

The Lisbon laboratory that processed Diane Modahl's controversial dope test has defended its handling of the British runner's urine sample.

"The lab rigorously followed regulations and was always available to clear up the truth," Professor Lesseps Reys, its scientific director, said yesterday in the wake of Modahl's victory in the fight to clear her name.

The former Commonwealth 800m champion was exonerated of all drugs charges by the International Amateur Athletic Federation on Monday after testing positive for testosterone at a low-key meeting in the Portuguese capital 20 months ago.

The IAAF expressed "serious concern" over the way the laboratory dealt with Modahl's sample and criticised officials there for refusing a third test, which "could have provided a final resolution of this matter".

Reys said laboratories accredited by the IAAF and the International Olympic Committee are required only to conduct a test and a counter-test.

"Under regulations, a third test, which was not foreseen, would have required a resealing of the sample in proper conditions," he said. "This resealing was not solicited by any of the experts present at the counter- test, including those representing the athlete."

Reys said Modahl's remaining sample was not sufficient in quantity for a further test. He said the laboratory would offer it for further scientific investigation but not for a third analysis.

Modahl has announced she will be accompanied in future by her own private expert to avoid being embroiled in another drugs scandal.

Modahl's husband and coach, Vicente, said the runner would give a private urine sample before every race in case she is tested for drugs. The sample will be sent immediately for storage to Professor Simon Gaskell, whose evidence was crucial to their victory in the Lisbon affair.

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