Athletics: Beijing place at stake as Ohuruogu seeks to overturn ban

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The Independent Online

Christine Ohuruogu will today seek a place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as she tries to overturn a lifetime ban from the Games at a personal hearing.

The world 400 metres champion, who in August completed a year's suspension for missing three scheduled drug tests, has been given a personal hearing by the Sports Disputes Resolution Panel over whether the life ban the British Olympic Association gives to all who earn a significant doping suspension should be reversed.

Ohuruogu, 23, from Stratford, east London, who is likely to have to wait a fortnight for the decision, has the support of the outgoing chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Dick Pound. The BOA panel which imposed her punishment, and the Council of Arbitration for Sport, which turned down her appeal, said she was not suspected of deliberately cheating.

The question of how she missed three tests, however, particularly as she would have received a written warning after her second, remains unanswered. But the high number of tests she did undergo during that period appears to emphasise that this was a case of misjudgement.

The other British athletes to have missed three tests – the world triathlon champion Tim Don and judo player Peter Cousins – were cleared by the panel.

The fact that Ohuruogu was welcomed back into the British team by UK Athletics and became Britain's first individual women's world champion since Sally Gunnell in 1993 is also likely to count in her favour.

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