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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK


Scottish backing for sprinter

Doug Walker was cleared by UK Athletics last month

Scottish athletics bosses have announced they will back sprinter Dougie Walker whose doping case has been referred to an arbitration panel by the International Amateur Athletics Federation.

The Scottish Athletics Federation has also called for an immediate inquiry into the banned drug nandrolone after the sport's international governing body refused to accept Britain's decision to clear Walker of doping charges.

[ image: Walker is free to compete]
Walker is free to compete
European 200m champion Walker was acquitted of wrong-doing last month by UK Athletics.

But the IAAF branded the decision "erroneous" and referred the case to abitration. A date for the hearing will not be set until after the World Championships in Seville, which end on 29 August.

In a statement, Scottish Athletics Federation Chief Executive David Joy said the referral of the Walker case to arbitration "reinforced the call for an immediate inquiry into the drug nandrolone".

He continued: "The Scottish Athletics Federation are disappointed by the decision taken by the IAAF to refer the case of Dougie Walker to arbitration.

David Joy: "There are grey areas opening up"
"We are dismayed by a process that allows the findings of what was an extensive and independent inquiry by UK Athletics to be called into question.

"This will inevitably result in another stressful period of waiting for the athlete."

He added: "The Scottish Athletics Federation and UK Athletics will be giving their full support to Walker as we await the panel's decision."

In the meantime, Walker will be free to continue competing.

[ image:  ]
UK Athletics had earlier said they were disappointed with the IAAF's decision but they would stand behind the decision of the disciplinary committee to clear Doug Walker.

A spokesperson said: "We now await with him the decision of the arbitration panel. The IAAF is within its rights to make this decision."

Walker's lawyer Nick Bitel later criticised the IAAF's decision, saying that the sprinter was angry that the matter had not been settled.

"Doug is extremely annoyed with the whole decision-making process," he said.

Walker's lawyer Nick Bitel: "I'm very disappointed"
"I think it's a very strange decision and cannot be justified. The committee made a rigorous and very full inquiry into it before making their decision.

"They were extremely well qualified and I find it a perverse decision."

Traces of the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone were found during a drugs test on Walker last December.

UK Athletics accepted his plea that he had no idea how the substance had entered his body.

But IAAF General Secretary Istvan Gyulai said: "The anti-doping commission (of the IAAF) unanimously believes that this was an erroneous decision.

"The criteria is whether a substance is in the body or not."

Doug Gillon: "Athletes are running scared"
Doug Gillon, athletics correspondent of The Herald newspaper in Scotland, said: "The real problem is that the doping authorities worldwide in a range of sports appear to have lost control and lost credibility.

"The athletes are quite literally running scared. They don't know, when they are innocent, whether the tests will prove them innocent."

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