OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Athletics: Livingston claims innocence

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The Independent Online
JASON LIVINGSTON came out fighting yesterday, when he denied passionately ever having taken drugs. 'I know I'm innocent. I never knowingly took any steroids and I never would,' he said.

Livingston, who was sent home from the Olympic Village with the two weightlifters, Andrew Davies and Andrew Saxton, failed a random drugs test taken on 15 July, which showed traces of methandienone, a banned steroid.

In an interview with the South London Press, he said the only medication he had taken before the test was when he pulled out of an international meeting at Edinburgh with a heavy cold last month. The British doctor in Barcelona had been given details of the medication, 'because that is the only thing I could even remotely think might be behind the drug result - that, or someone tampering with the sample.'

He added: 'It's going to be extremely difficult to clear my name,' he added. 'And in some ways this is going to be the hardest battle of my life.'

Livingston will hear his sentence in two weeks. 'I'm not very optimistic, even though I can appeal against the decision,' he said.

The 21-year-old from south London also spoke about the effect the affair is having on him personally. 'What has really upset me more than missing out on the Olympics is that people I like and respect are going to think I'm a cheat. I have already been destroyed by the TV and I feel worse is to follow in the papers over the next few days.

'Now all those who tagged me 'Baby Ben' are going to have a field day,' he said. 'They'll say that because they thought I was obsessed with Ben Johnson and his success it's a case of me naturally following in his footsteps all the way to taking drugs.

'How stupid can you get? Johnson was a fine runner but he was also a fool and it really hurts me to think that when I'm walking down the road in Croydon or wherever, people are going to be pointing their finger at me, thinking I cheated them.'

Meanwhile, the German shot putter, Kalman Konya, was also sent home from the Olympic Village yesterday for failing to comply with random testing. He had been cleared to compete in Barcelona after his ban by the German Federation (DLV) was overturned on Wednesday by the DLV legal commission. But the German National Olympic Committee said it was not bound by the ruling and refused to allow him to compete.

Since January, several unsuccessful attempts have been made to make a random test on Konya, the last coming on 23 July, after his Olympic selection. But on each occasion he failed to present himself.

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