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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Richardson backed by UK Sport
Richardson: cleared of doping bu Uk Athletics
Richardson: cleared of doping by UK Athletics
UK Sport chairman Sir Rodney Walker has pledged support to Mark Richardson's bid to clear himself to race in the Olympic Games.

The Great Britain runner was cleared of doping charges by UK Athletics (UKA) on Tuesday.

But the Commonwealth games 400m silver medallist still has to convince the sport's world governing body of his innocence before he can compete in Sydney.

Sir Rodney promised to write to the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF).

His organisation monitors drug testing in the UK, and Walker is happy with the scientific research which helped clear Richardson.

"In view of the information that has become available, I will write, bringing them up to date with the preliminary findings of the research," he said.

Richardson: can compete at GB Olympic trials
Richardson: can compete at GB Olympic trials
"I will also be advising them that we will do more extensive research of our own into the nandrolone situation."

High profile

Nandrolone has caused several high-profile athletes from a range of sports to fail drug tests and is threatening to overshadow September's Olympic Games in Sydney.

"We need a more detailed test programme to increase the knowledge in this area," said Sir Rodney.

"The performance-enhancing situation is not as straightforward as we would like. UK Sport has taken a lead with the nandrolone review committee but research is on-going.

"It was August 1999 when nandrolone became very high profile and it seemed no-one else in the world was taking a significant lead.

"That's why we asked to pull together eminent people in this area and the report was fairly conclusive.

Duty

"We have a duty to all our athletes to ensure those people who have the jurisdiction of decision-making are kept up to date."

As well as the battle to stay ahead of steroids, Sir Rodney admitted a growing concern for the increasing trends towards recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy.

"It may be sportsmen and women are no different to the rest of society," he said.

On Tuesday, Richardson was cleared to compete in Britain's Olympic trials in Birmingham next month.

European 200m gold medal winner Dougie Walker, who also faced doping allegations for the prohibited substance, was given similar permission.

Research

A nandrolone research team, based at Aberdeen University had concluded that the banned steroid could be produced naturally in the body of an athlete who takes legal dietary supplements and undertakes intensive exercise.

These were the results that put Richardson in the clear with UKA and could still allow him to run in the Olympics.

Sir Rodney was speaking as he unveiled UK Sport's anti-doping programme annual report for 1999-2000.

Dougie Walker with UK Athletics chief David Moorcroft
Dougie Walker with David Moorcroft
The report showed the number of positive results in Britain were up from 76 to 119 on the previous year but that the number of tests carried out had been increased by over 1,000.

The biggest increases were in stimulants and anabolic agents such as nandrolone, which has controversially dominated positive test results among high-profile athletes in recent months.

Sir Rodney said: "Having increased the number of tests by over a thousand, we still have over 98 per cent producing negative findings."

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See also:

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Richardson in the clear
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