Racing and hockey in first drugs test failures

Drugs in sport
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Drugs in sport


Racing, hockey and athletics were joined together yesterday in a fashion none of them would have wished - by drugs.

The apprentice jockey Sean McCarthy became the first rider in Britain to fail a random drugs test, while the German international, Oliver Kurtz, joined him as a hockey "first" after his system showed traces of cocaine. Athletics, unlike the other two no stranger to illegal substances, had the South African javelin thrower Philip Spies falling foul of three banned stimulants.

The 22-year-old McCarthy, will tomorrow discover his punishment after testing positive for cannabinoids and amphetamines. McCarthy, who was born in Liverpool, will appear in front of the Jockey Club's Disciplinary Committee for sentence following a positive sample he returned at Folkestone in August. He is expected to be suspended for a month.

This is the first case of its kind since random testing was introduced to the sport just over a year ago. Some 150 tests have been carried out so far.

It was McCarthy's misfortune that drug-testers turned up at Folkestone on 15 August, one of the few days he has actually ridden in public this year. He was tested after partnering Harry Welsh into third place in the concluding apprentice handicap for the Lambourn trainer Kevin McCauliffe.

Michael Caulfield, the secretary of the Jockeys' Association said: "The message is simple, that any dabbling at all will lead to people getting caught. There is no place in racing for any illegal drugs."

The International Hockey Federation, who have carried out tests since 1968, have banned Kurtz from playing for Germany for two years and his club until April next year,

He tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolic of cocaine, at the Atlanta Challenge Cup in August. The federation stressed that the substance was "one of a social nature and should not be considered as a performance- enhancing drug."

Spies, 25, tested positive for tephedrine, methylephedrine and pseudoephedrine at the All African invitation meeting in Johannesburg last month. He has been suspended pending a hearing by Athletics South Africa.