KATRIN KRABBE was reported last night to have admitted taking the drug clenbuterol, a stimulant and anabolic agent, but said that she had been advised that it was not on the list of banned substances.
In an interview with the German newspaper, Bild, released ahead of publication today, Krabbe is quoted as saying that she and her German team-mate, Grit Breuer, had been taking clenbuterol 'since April 16'. She added: 'We are totally shocked. Our doctor recommended it (clenbuterol) to us. He gave us the OK that it was not on the doping list.'
Krabbe's manager, Jos Hermens, confirmed yesterday that the two athletes had returned positive tests at a training camp in Germany on 22 and 23 July. Hermens said they had received letters from the German athletics federation (DLV), informing them that random tests carried out last month showed traces of clenbuterol.
Before Krabbe and Breuer were cleared last month of a four-year ban for allegedly manipulating samples during a random test carried out in South Africa, Hermens had threatened to take legal action to allow them to run.
But his reaction yesterday was not the same. 'The South African thing was absolutely different,' he said. 'I always went along with them when they said they were innocent. For me this is totally different. It's incredible. I don't think they are saying in this case that they didn't do it. Obviously this is pretty clear.'
There nevertheless appeared to be an area of doubt involved in the case. Clenbuterol is the same drug which caused the British weightlifters, Andrew Saxton and Andrew Davies, to be sent home from the Olympics. Hermens said he had contacted Krabbe's father, who had told him that Krabbe had argued clenbuterol was not on the list of substances banned by the German federation.
Lutz Nebenthal, a DLV spokesman, confirmed that clenbuterol - a drug licensed in Germany to treat asthma which also has the effect of converting fat to muscle - was not on the list. But he said the substances it contained were.
The International Olympic Committee medical commission confirmed last week in the wake of the British weightlifters' case that the drug was outlawed inside and outside competition.
Willi Daume, president of Germany's National Olympic Committee, warned that any criticism of the athletes could not be made until the standard tests had been carried out on the check samples, which was not expected to be done until after the Olympics. 'The case must be legally watertight,' Daume said. 'But if it is proven, it would raise the enormous suspicion that a group is at work which can no longer be tolerated. It would show that some coaches, athletes and officials are working as a sort of group of sports criminals.'
Silke Renk, Germany's new Olympic javelin champion, echoed that sentiment. 'If Katrin really is doped it will throw such a huge shadow over athletics that people won't be able to believe us any more,' she said.
At the Games, meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that two more competitors had failed drug tests. The American hammer thrower, Jud Logan, tested positive for clenbuterol, and Madina Biktagirova, from the Unified Team, who was fourth in the women's marathon, tested positive for the stimulant, norephedrine. Earlier in the week, Wu Dan, a Chinese volleyball player, was expelled from the Games after taking strychnine in a herbal tonic.
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