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  Friday, 9 August, 2002, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Should Holmes have kept quiet?
Kelly Holmes questioned the manner of Ceplak's victory
European 800m champion Jolanda Ceplak defends her reputation in the face of comments from Kelly Holmes after the race.

Does Britain's bronze medallist have a right to speak out?


Slovenia's Ceplak took gold with a dominant display of front-running for her first major outdoor title, leaving Holmes trailing more than two seconds behind.

But after the race, Holmes questioned the manner of Ceplak's victory: "Without saying too much, take your own guesses [how she did it]. I know I do it fairly and with progression."

In response, Ceplak said: "I am very surprised she said this. Everything that I have run this year has been down to my hard work."

Is Holmes right to cast aspersions?

This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.

Athletics is not politics. Nowadays, drugs in sports are quite frequent and Kelly had the right to speak out like she did. We do live in a democracy after all, don't we?
Matthew, England

Kelly Holmes is typical of the English. She is a pathetic loser.
Harish-chandra, Cyprus

She is genuinely frustrated by the authorities' inability to rid her sport of the drugs slurs
Positive Parrot, UK

Kelly Holmes is most unwise to sound off to the press without proof. Frankly, she should put up or shut up. If she has clear evidence that Ceplak has been doping, then reveal it to the world. Otherwise she is not doing her image any good by whingeing to the press. She has only succeeded in making herself look like a sore loser.
David Cocksedge, Thailand

Until all athletes are routinely tested with a reliable means of detecting whatever available, we should be suspicious of all such overwhelming efforts as Ceplak's. That includes a large number of elite athletes from Michael Johnson to Lance Armstrong to Mark McGuire to Hulk Hogan!
Chris Wheatley, New Zealand

Is losing with dignity no longer a virtue amongst athletes?
Tony Wong, Australia

Kelly is a very experienced runner who's competed in many major championships winning occasionally but also losing often with good grace. She is genuinely frustrated by the authorities' inability to rid her sport of the drugs slurs.

How disappointing to see guilty athletes returning to the sport after suspension. Kelly has never been a bad loser: the real loser is the sport of athletics if it simply shoots the messenger when the difficult subject of drugs is raised.
Positive Parrot, UK

I'm very sad to see the reaction by Holmes who I have admired for many years. She realises the mistakes by refusing to clarify her remarks which to anyone with average IQ could see were aimed at Ceplak. Her time was not particularly fast, only the first 350m, after that it was slowing down all the way to the finish line which only tells you how bad the rest of the runners were.
Agust, Iceland

Why can't she just admit she did not run as well as she can?
Neil Small, UK

Kelly has nothing to apologise for. She was talking about her own performances and that she does it through hard work and doesn't use drugs. And why is Ceplak being so defensive about the whole situation if she has nothing to hide?
Kayleigh, Luton, England

This is typical arrogance from a world-class athlete unable or unwilling to accept that they have been beaten fairly. How can she her comments when her opponent has never failed a drugs test? Why can't she just admit she did not run as well as she can?
Neil Small, UK

Kelly Holmes should not case aspersions without concrete facts. She was beaten fair and square until proven otherwise. She will be lucky to avoid a court-case.
Pauls Berzins, Estonia

Would Kelly have made these comments if she had won the race?
Kevin, Ireland

A bad loser will always have something to blame. Sonia Sullivan was well beaten by Radcliffe but made no excuses.
Thomas Leonard, Republic of Ireland

She has essentially slandered Ceplak - unless, as Michael Johnson says, she can back it up
Dump Truck, Netherlands
What a lot of fuss! Anyone could tell that Kelly was over the moon with bronze and all this talk about sour grapes is ridiculous. She is a far from ordinary athlete who has every right to be proud of her medals and performance. If it wasn't for a fact that these champs have been so boring and full of errors I don't think so many people would of jump on the band wagon. We love you Kelly!!!
Sarah Ward, England

We all hate the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport. However, it's my personal view that accusations and cheap shots about the results of others' performances tend to muddy the waters and, if they are misplaced, a lot of damage can be done to an athlete's life both on and off the track.

If we have doubts about our competitors, we should insist on a more stringent testing program. If Kelly Holmes really didn't mean anything by her comments, she should simply state that she is sorry that her comments have been misconstrued and that she has no reason to suspect Jolanda Ceplak of foul play.
Ricki Carne, Australia

Kelly only said that she was proud to have done it clean, unaided by drugs or stimulants of any kind. It may not have been a reference to Ceplak's performance but was, I think, a sweeping statement aimed at all drug cheaters in sports.
Steve Summers, England

Anyone who didn't catch Holmes' innuendo during her interview was sleeping. She has essentially slandered Ceplak - unless, as Michael Johnson says, she can back it up. Good training brings good results. If we are going to judge by musculature, Kelly might have some explaining to do herself.

As for the race itself, Ceplak kept herself out of trouble and just ran the legs off the field. Not a bad strategy for someone who has the confidence that they are the strongest in the field. Did I hear someone mention Paula Radcliffe?
Dump Truck, Netherlands

She thinks some athletes aren't "clean" - she's not alone there
Nigel, UK

Kelly Holmes is one of our most talented and respected athletes. I think she has a right to speak her mind, and in this increasingly PC-obsessed country I think controversial comments like these are extremely important in keeping 'freedom of speech' alive.
Emily Hempstead, England

I used to compete in athletics at a good level and could have made it if it weren't for several injuries. One memory I still have though is of the amount of drugs that were available.

Everyone was taking them, but it was never really mentioned. Kelly will be sure of something, otherwise she would have kept her mouth shut. It's like the secret that everyone knows about, but no-one mentions.
Daniel Connell, England

Too many people are listening but not hearing. Kelly said she was proud of her own "clean" performance. I infer that she thinks some athletes aren't "clean" - she's not alone there - and that they have no reason to be proud if they do well.

Some people have inferred she was referring to Jolanda, but that's not what she said. Perhaps Kelly could have selected her words better, but don't let's put different words into her mouth.
Nigel, UK

The governing body should bring her to account
Miha, Slovenia

What a load of fuss over nothing. Kelly was referring to her own performance, not anyone else's. Those with something to hide should be worrying, not Kelly.
Dan, England

Athletes should not be allowed to make such statements. As a sport it is not for them to make accusations. If it is athletes who suddenly improve that is worrying Holmes, then maybe she should include those British athletes who have done so well this year. Disgraceful. The governing body should bring her to account.
Mark, UK

It's nice to see that many of you can remain objective. I believe that Kelly's statement was totally out of place especially since they know each other and even have the same manager! However, I have to thank Kelly for the publicity, maybe a few people actually realise now where Slovenia is.
Miha, Slovenia

Disgraceful comments by an athlete beaten by a better competitor. What would the British public think if Sonia O' Sullivan made a similar comment about Paula Radcliffe?
Ted, England

Good for Kelly Holmes for speaking out. I hope that more athletes will follow her example - and if there are any British athletes benefitting from illegal substances, let's have them named too. Everyone involved in the sports knows who they are - they should be named and banned for life.
John Whapshott, England

What's the big deal. She raises a valid point, and if the other competitor is not taking drugs then why is it a problem to raise the issue? Far too many people are scared to raise the issues they want to talk about within sport. I say well done Kelly for speaking your mind!
David, UK

Jolanda's superb achievements have been gradual and consistent, and she was a worthy winner last night
T, UK/Slovenia

After watching the interview a few times, I really can't understand what all the fuss is about. People are saying she should put up or shut up. Doesn't this also apply to those who suggest she was saying anything about anyone other than herself?
Gary, UK

I wonder what Paula Radcliffe makes of Kelly's comments. She has been the victim of a whispering campaign since her exploits of the past couple of weeks and the whole country was up in arms.
Phil Presland, UK

Kelly Holmes' comments are disgraceful and unsporting. Until it is proven otherwise, she was beaten fairly and should accept that with good grace. Michael Johnson was spot-on with his comments. If Holmes wants us to draw our own conclusions she shouldn't have said anything in the first place.
Charlie, UK

I think all the fuss being made over the comment made by Kelly is absolutely ridiculous. As she said, she was talking about her own performance, and no-one else's - she didn't mention any names.
Lucy, Scotland

Slovenia is an exceptionally successful sporting nation, given its size. Its sportspeople are known for their hard work and dedication. Jolanda's superb achievements have been gradual and consistent, and she was a worthy winner last night. If Kelly Holmes has any evidence of foul play, which I seriously doubt, she should present it to the authorities, and let them deal with it.
T, UK/Slovenia

If people are saying that improving your PB by five seconds in two years points towards drug-taking then how can athletes possibly improve? Paula Radcliffe smashed her 10,000m PB a few days ago, and we Brits put it down to her extremely tough and well-documented training regime.

I'm not suggesting for one moment that Paula takes drugs as I admire her immensely, but it seems that athletes from smaller, or less publicised countries, seem guilty in the eyes of the British people. In short, unless people can prove it, they should shut up. And yes Kelly, that includes you!
Chris Eccles, England

She did not name any athlete so why does everyone assume she was talking about Ceplak?
Barbara Phipps, UK

She said nothing wrong. A lot of athletes are taking performance-enhancing substances and getting away with it and more people should speak out. Ian Thorpe made some valid comments on the subject too. However, it is difficult to prove so people should choose their words carefully which I think Kelly did.
Phil, UK

Well done Kelly Holmes. She ran a brilliant race and she merely stated that she had won the bronze medal for Great Britain without cheating. You could see she was over the moon and anyone who thinks otherwise is obviously very shallow minded.

Maybe she didn't word what she said correctly enough for the critics, but they would have found something else to fault her for. She had just run a great race and she definitely has nothing to apologise for.
Stephen Rogers, United Kingdom

Well here we go again. If a British athlete makes great improvements then it's down to hard work and dedication. When it's an athlete from elsewhere then questions are asked. Kelly Holmes is an ordinary athlete and I'm surprised she managed third. She should be thankful for that and look for a drug that will get rid of her bitterness.
Tom, UK

Kelly was not out of order, even though I was surprised by her comments. She did not name any athlete so why does everyone assume she was talking about Ceplak? It could easily have been the Spanish girl. I think she was angry about the allegations/speculations about Paula Radcliffe and wished to stress that most athletes are clean.
Barbara Phipps, UK

Very silly comments. Still, it is quite unusual to see quite such stunning improvement in an athlete. There's only one way to answer the question.
Rob, England

Having seen the interview (in which no names were mentioned) and knowing that Ceplak has reduced her PB by five seconds in two years it does seem a bit sus. I think if I had been in Kelly Holmes' place, I may have also made a few comments. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. It's the media who are at fault as they like to blow things up out of all proportion.
Andy, UK

She should either apologise unreservedly or turn over to the authorities any firm evidence of drug-taking
Ed, UK

Kelly Holmes should shut up or put forward some concrete evidence to back up these types of claims. Ceplaks' victory was an excellent piece of front running, effectively taking the rest of the competitors out of the race.

Holmes couldn't catch her because she wasn't good enough. So no sour grapes please. If it is proved that Ceplak took performance-enhancing drugs I would be the first to condemn her, but as of now there is no evidence to suggest this, so congratulations and admiration should be the order of the day.
Martin , UK

The comment smacks of sour grapes, and Kelly Holmes is totally out of order. She should either apologise unreservedly or turn over to the authorities any firm evidence of drug-taking (which I doubt she has). This is no way for competitors in any sport to behave towards one another.
Ed, UK

Kelly was right to questin Ceplak, but probably not at the time she did. It makes her look like a bad loser!
Darren, Eng

I can understand an athlete's unhappiness if they are certain that a fellow competitor is taking drugs, but if you are going to come out and make the type of comments Kelly Holmes did you must back them up.
Michael Watkins, England

By Kelly's logic, what is Paula on?
Graham Pickles, England

It is really sad that our athletes use the media to cast aspersions on others. I think Kelly Holmes was totally incorrect in casting aspersions like this. Such actions should not be tolerated by the Athletics Federation and she should be reprimanded for her statements in the press.
S Shefali, UK

I for one will not take any notice of any records that are broken, and it beats me why anyone takes any notice of it
Marty, England

I would agree with Seb Coe that every athlete has their own doubts about certain individuals and the use of performance-enhancing drugs. I do, however, believe that Kelly Holmes should not have raised the issue in the manner in which she did.

Furthermore, when asked to back up her comments, she was either unwilling or unable to do so. This will now undoubtedly cast a shadow of doubt over every athlete who has achieved something exceptional at these championships.
Claire McCracken, Scotland

She is right. Athletics is rife with drug abuse. I for one will not take any notice of any records that are broken, and it beats me why anyone takes any notice of it. I put athletics on a par with WWF wrestling.
Marty, England

Kelly Holmes is a sad loser here. If she has evidence of other athletes cheating she should have revealed it before the race, otherwise keep quiet. Why is it that all British athletes who test positive for drug abuse are always innocent but runners from other nations are guilty - even without proof? Kelly Holmes is a disgrace to the British team and discredits the great achievements of Paula Radcliffe and others.
Michael, UK

She has done nothing wrong nor harmed athletics in any way with her comments, she only said what is true: that the medals that she has won she has won cleanly.
Robert Smith, Scotland

Ceplak has worked hard at her game and taken herself to a new level. Holmes should concentrate on catching up. On the other hand, I wonder what she has to say about the 1500m race. Go Ceplak!
Yinka, Africa

Sounds like sour grapes to me
Nina, UK

I am very annoyed at Kelly's comments. British people are supposed to be known for fair play and her sulky outburst looks like sour grapes, given that she has not been able to back it up with anything concrete. It is such a shame when hard work is undermined by a pathetic whispering campaign.

I agree with Michael Johnson - unless she can elaborate upon her innuendo, Holmes should give over. Sounds like sour grapes to me.
Nina, UK

I am absolutely fed up with the BBC's cosy athletics coverage. The latest drugs controversy has persuaded me to comment rather than just switch off. It is clear to me that many athletes are using performance-enhancing substances to improve their performance and current testing methods are totally inadequate.

It is also ridiculous for Paula Radcliffe to suggest she is clean on the basis of five tests conducted throughout a season. Drugs can be masked or flushed through the system in a few days.
Crónán Ó Doibhlin, Ireland

It sounds like sour grapes after the race when you have been beaten and it is up to the authorities to catch anyone. In Kelly's defence, she is only human and it must be very difficult to cope with a defeat if you know someone is beating you through cheating.
Amy, UK

There's a very strong whiff of sour grapes about Kelly's claims. She is patently a very ordinary athlete on the world stage - her performance in the 1500m is further evidence. It seems that her Commonwealth success has gone to her head and I think she is genuinely stunned by how easily she could be beaten.
Matt, UK

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09 Aug 02 | European Athletics
08 Aug 02 | European Athletics
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