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Wednesday, September 15, 1999 Published at 22:09 GMT 23:09 UK


Drug test blow for Ottey

Merlene Ottey has another setback in her bid to clear her name

Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, who failed a dope test last month, has also tested positive on her second sample, the Jamaican Amateur Athletic Association has announced.

It said in a statement that the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) had advised that "the 'B' sample from Ottey has also tested positive".

Miss Ottey returned a positive 'A' test for nandrolone at a meeting on 5 July at Lucerne, Switzerland.

She left last month's world championships in Seville after news of her positive test became public.

She vowed there had been a "terrible mistake" and pledged to clear her name.

Miss Ottey, who is 39, could now be suspended for two years.

Ordinary Jamaicans reacted with disbelief to her first positive test, with many claiming that the test result was a conspiracy, or a mistake, on the part of the International Amateur Athletic Association.

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Nandrolone is the steroid for which the British sprinter Linford Christie, also 39, tested positive for earlier this year.

British runner Doug Walker has also fallen foul of the controversial substance, which has seen an increased number of positive tests across sport in the past 12 months.


[ image: Christie also tested positive for nandrolone]
Christie also tested positive for nandrolone
"To write this statement has been the most difficult and emotionally draining experience of my life," said Miss Ottey in a document released when she first heard she had tested positive.

"I have lived my personal and athletic life with the utmost honesty and integrity.

"I have applied only the highest ethical standards to myself and expect the same from others. I have always proclaimed fairness in sports and adamantly oppose the use of banned substances.

"I owe it to my family, my country, my beloved sport and all my fans around the world to prove that this is a terrible mistake and that I will do everything in my power to find the truth and prove my innocence."

Miss Ottey had been tested approximately 100 times since 1979 and all results had hitherto been negative.

Illustrious career

Merlene Ottey is the most successful athlete in the history of the world championships, having won 14 medals, including six golds.

She has also won 20 medals at other major international championships, including seven in the Olympics.

The Jamaican competed at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and was intending to mark two decades at the top by running in the 2000 Sydney Games at the age 40.

She was designated a roving ambassador by her country's government after the 1993 season.

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