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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Lagat given all-clear
Bernard Lagat
Lagat took a silver medal at the 2001 World Championships
Kenyan middle-distance star Bernard Lagat has had his supension lifted after a second test for the banned substance Erythropoietin (EPO) proved negative, Athletics Kenya has announced.

Lagat, a bronze medallist in the 1500m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, was temporarily suspended pending the results of his B sample after failing a test on 8 August in Germany.

He did not compete in the event at the Paris World Championships, with illness given as the public reason for his absence.

But Athletics Kenya had been informed of his positive test by the sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Following the latest laboratory tests, he is now free to compete again.

"The analysis of the B sample was conducted by the IOC-accredited laboratory in Cologne, Germany on 29 September and did not corroborate the original result," the IAAF website said on Wednesday.

Lagat said in a statement: "I am extremely happy that I have been proven innocent of drug taking and I want to stress again that I have never used any kind of performance-enhancing drug."

Athletics Kenya secretary general David Okeyo said: "Lagat tested positive to EPO on 8 August after running a race somewhere in Germany.

"We received the report on 22 August (at the world championships) in Paris but we decided to keep it a secret in order not to affect our team."

Lagat, 29, took 1500m silver at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton and was considered the only genuine challenger to eventual gold medallist Hicham El Guerrouj in Paris.

In June, Athletics Kenya banned cross-country runner Pamela Chepchumba for two years after two blood samples taken during the world cross-country championships in March tested positive.

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