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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
Montgomery clear for trials
Tim Montgomery
Montgomery denies taking any performance-enhancing drugs
American sprinter Tim Montgomery can compete in the US Olympic trials despite his ongoing doping case, US Track and Field has said.

USATF boss Craig Masback said US law was "quite clear" and Montgomery could compete until his appeal was complete.

Montgomery's case is to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which has been asked by the US Anti-Doping Agency to consider a lifetime ban.

The 100m world record holder denies taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Masback said: "The law of the United States is quite clear. It says that unless someone has received a full due-process hearing and found to be ineligible, they must be allowed to compete.

"We do not intend to prevent them from competing in the trials."

Montgomery is one of four American athletes who USADA has written to alleging possible doping violations following verbal evidence given to the federal investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (Balco).

We hope that Tim will have the best opportunity to clear his name in a fair and impartial proceeding
Howard Jacobs
Tim Montgomery's lawyer
USADA's request comes a week after Montgomery said he would prefer the case to be examined directly by the CAS and skip a USADA hearing.The CAS decision would be final but may not be reached before the start of the trials.

No date has been given for the hearing, but AP quoted unnamed CAS officials as saying any arbitration would probably take place before the Olympics, which are in Athens from 13-29 August.

Montgomery would be the first athlete in USADA's three years of existence to skip USADA's arbitration system and go directly to the court of last appeal.

Montgomery's lawyer Howard Jacobs said his client had no confidence in the USADA to treat him fairly.

"By turning to CAS we hope that Tim will have the best opportunity to clear his name in a fair and impartial proceeding."

Montgomery, Olympic 400m silver medallist Alvin Harrison, former world indoor 200m champion Michelle Collins and former Olympic relay medallist Chrystie Gaines have been charged by USADA with doping offences.

None has failed a doping test.

The charges are part of an investigation into Balco, whose owners face charges of distributing drugs, including the newly-discovered steroid THG (tetrahydrogestrinone), to top-class sportsmen and women.

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