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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK


Call for fail-safe drug tests

Doug Walker: Cleared of drug taking

Positive drug tests by British athletes have hit the headlines on several occasions in recent years.

[ image: Christie: Fighting to clear name]
Christie: Fighting to clear name
Accusations against former Olympic sprint champion Linford Christie over the drug nandrolone come just days after Scottish sprinter Doug Walker, the European 200 metres champion, was cleared after testing positive for the same drug.

An increase in the number of athletes worldwide testing positive for nandrolone, which can appear naturally in the body, has prompted a call by governing body UK Athletics for a Sports Council investigation.

Dr Malcolm Brown: "We should not jump to conclusions"
Dr Malcolm Brown, director of medical services at UK Athletics, told the BBC: "What's lacking is sufficient scientific research for these findings over the last year.

"There have been a number of reports of athletes around the world having metabolites of nandrolone and this is very odd.

"We need to look at both sides and not jump to conclusions."

BBC Science Correspondent Palab Ghosh: "Some scientists believe not enough research has been done."
British 400m athlete Allison Curbishley backed calls for an investigation.

The 23-year-old said: "I believe that Linford is innocent but hopefully now we can start checking into this nandrolone situation, rather than immediately pointing the finger and crying 'cheat.'

"It is a very strange situation because it is becoming more and more common and that can't be because all these people are cheating.

"If it happens a couple of times then you can call it a coincidence, but now it is happening worldwide it simply can't be."

'Worrying situation'

The British number two over the one-lap discipline has admitted both she and other athletes are scared of what could happen to them after they are randomly tested.

"It is a very worrying situation because none of us really know how our bodies will react to what we take," said Curbishley.

"Many athletes take supplements that are perfectly within the rules but it's starting to seem as though your body is beginning to react in different ways."

Escaped ban

Tennis player Petr Korda also had traces of nandrolone in a dope test carried out at Wimbledon last year.

But Korda, who has since retired, escaped a ban because a panel decided he had taken steroids unknowingly.

World athletics officials are currently considering the case of Sri Lankan sprinter Susantika Jayasinghe, who tested positive for nandrolone in April 1998.

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