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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 08:29 GMT
Benjamin admits missed drugs test
Tim Benjamin
Benjamin finished fifth at the 2005 World Championships
Welsh Olympic hopeful Tim Benjamin has given his support to world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu and says he has also missed a drugs test.

Ohuruogu last month overturned a ban for missing three drugs tests, freeing her to compete in next year's Olympics.

Benjamin tells the BBC's Sport Wales programme: "People think she ran away from a test, but it's not like that.

"I've got a lot of sympathy for her. Most athletes have got a missed test against them. I've got one."

A 400m runner himself, Benjamin says he believes the public have misjudged the Ohuruogu case and admitted that the unforgiving nature of the testing system means he has one missed test against his name.


He said: "When the public see athletics, and certain things are printed, or talked about on TV, then people can get the wrong impression.

"The best example of that at the moment is Christine Ohuruogu. Drug-testers come to your house and you also have to say where you are for an hour every day.

"She gave her training place, she turned up, but sometimes you find that kids are using the track.

"You think, 'I can't train here. Where am I going to train?' The last thing on your mind can be to remember to tell the drug-testers.

"You have to quickly realise you need to get to another venue, so you get across London to the new venue and suddenly... that's one missed test. Do three of those and it's a ban.

I raced, it was on TV, and so everyone knew where I was. But a drug-tester turned up at my house, I wasn't there, so it was a missed test

Tim Benjamin

"Yes, it was careless. But she certainly didn't run away from a drugs test or anything like that."

Benjamin, who finished fifth at the 2005 World Championships, revealed he has tightened up on informing drugs-testers of his whereabouts.

"Last night, for instance, I was at my parents' house and when it got to midnight I suddenly realised I hadn't texted the drug testers to tell them where I'd be," he said.

"How easy would it have been just to go to sleep? Put yourself in an athlete's shoes. Every single day you have to tell the testers where you are.

"You could go out for a night, have two beers and think, 'I can't drive home - I'll stay at a mate's house.' Then, you're not at your house in the morning and that's a missed test. It's so easy to do.

"With my missed test, I was rung by my agent in 2005 to say there was a Golden League meeting in Zurich. I wasn't going to run because I was due to run in Sheffield and this was two days before.

"I told him I wasn't running but he pestered me and told me I had to run. So, 48 hours before I flew across to Zurich but completely forgot to tell the drug-testers.

"I raced, it was on TV, and so everyone knew where I was. But a drug-tester turned up at my house, I wasn't there, so it was a missed test.

"It's a very strict system, but one I think is needed. The problem is that it's not across all countries and that's something that every athlete would like to get the public to understand."

*Sport Wales is on BBC2 Wales and 2W on Thursday at 2200 GMT

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