Third test for Modahl

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Vicente Modahl has reacted with incredulity to news that the International Amateur Athletic Federation plans to conduct a third test on the urine sample given by his wife, Diane, to a Portuguese laboratory last year.

Istvan Gyulai, the IAAF general secretary, said yesterday that the proposed test would clearly show whether the levels had been caused by heat or were already in the urine from Modahl's body.

"We find it quite incredible that they want to do this thing," Modahl said. "We are not really worried about it because it is so absurd." As well as questioning the basis on which such a test could be conducted, he indicated that he and his wife no longer believed that the remains of her sample could indicate anything significant given the deterioration which had occurred in a variety of conditions.

On Wednesday a British Athletic Federation panel overturned a four-year drugs ban on the 1990 Commonwealth 800 metres champion after accepting that the high levels of the male sex hormone detected in Modahl's sample could have resulted from bacteriological activity during unrefrigerated storage.

Gyulai said that an unprecedented third test on Modahl's sample was "a possibility." He added: "We are told by scientists that another analysis would clearly show whether the elevated levels were caused by heat or had been in the body."

Modahl responded: "They are very clever if they can. This sample has been ruined by bacteriological action."

He said that after witnessing the test on the B sample at the Lisbon laboratory on 30 August 1994, he asked for his wife's sample to be re- sealed in his presence, but that his request was flatly turned down.

"The sample was open on the table between us from 10 in the morning until six in the evening," he said. "It must have been contaminated even further in that time. How do they really expect us to place any reliance on a sample they refused to re-seal?"

Modahl is still seeking an explanation for the federation's action in cancelling a third test on the sample in Lisbon two days before it was due to go ahead on 22 June this year.

The IAAF council meets in Gothenburg next week before the World Championships, and it is expected that the Modahl case will be discussed, even though it is not on the official agenda.

It is expected that, sooner or later, the IAAF will review the case through their arbitration panel, which is likely to reimpose the original four- year ban.