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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK


Christie suspended after drugs shock

Linford Christie celebrates gold at the 1992 Olympics

Former British sprint champion Linford Christie has been suspended from athletics after failing a drugs test.

Christie: I will fight to clear my name
UK Athletics, the sport's governing body, said the action had been taken following a positive test for nandrolone at an indoor meet in Dortmund, Germany, on February 13.

Christie, who now acts as an agent for British athletes, has officially retired from the sport and competes only in selected meetings.

In a statement the organisation said: "UK Athletics confirms that it has been notified of the suspension by (the) IAAF of Linford Christie, following an adverse finding of metabolites of nandrolone in a urine sample."

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Christie has denied the allegations, however, saying: "I have consistently opposed the use of banned substances and it is ridiculous to imagine that I would take them after my retirement.

"Obviously I am completely innocent of any wrongdoing and any case against me will be vigorously defended."

The news is the latest controversy surrounding the anabolic steriod after European 200m champion Dougie Walker was cleared of using nandrolone at a displinary hearing last month.

BBC Athletics Correspondent John Rawling: Nandrolone is a muscle enhancing steroid
Christie became the oldest man to win the Olympic 100 metres title when he triumphed at the 1992 Barcelona Games at the age of 32.

In the following year he won the Stuttgart world title in a European record 9.87 seconds and retained the Commonwealth and European titles in 1994.

He was disqualified from the Olympic 100 metres final in 1996 after two false starts and officially retired in 1997.

Athletics backs Christie

BBC Sports Correspondent Adam Mynott: "Fellow British athletes have been reacting with shock"
Great Britain team captain Dalton Grant has backed Christie's fight to clear his name.

Highjumper Grant believes Christie is innocent and will be cleared after an investigation.

"It's the same thing as Dougie Walker who tested positive for the same substance.

"We really need to look into it."

Jonathan Edwards: "I don't believe he's done anything wrong"
"The body actually produces it (nandrolone) so it could be something that is triggering it off," he said.

World record triple-jump holder, Jonathan Edwards, agreed: "I have to say I don't think Linford has done anything wrong for one minute.

"He's retired, he's specifically asked to be put on the drugs testing register. He didn't have to do that and I think it's a tragedy for him and the sport."

"The sport has to sort this out becuase it's becoming clear that nandrolone can get into your urine in so many different ways."

Athletics coach Mike Whittingham said: "It's a huge shock.

"I'm not convinced Linford has failed a drugs test.

"I think what's emerging is that we are finding substances that are ocurring naturally and it proves how little we know of this substance.

"The sport needs a rapid inquiry into this to get to the bottom of this product."

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