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Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Tuesday, 19 October 2010 13:35 UK

IOC says banned LaShawn Merritt will miss London 2012

LaShawn Merritt
American Merritt tested positive for testosterone three times

The International Olympic Committee has said LaShawn Merritt will not be able to defend his 400m title at London 2012 following his doping suspension.

He was given a backdated 21-month ban - until 27 July 2011 - after testing positive for testosterone three times.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams stated Merritt has fallen foul of IOC rules that were introduced in July 2008.

"The rule says any athlete sanctioned for six months or more will be banned from the next Games," he said.

"This rule is still valid and applies to all athletes. Each case is of course different and subject to potential legal procedures but the IOC's rules are clear."

In its verdict on Monday, the American Arbitration Association said the IOC's rule went against the World Anti-Doping Agency code and, as a signatory to the code, the IOC could not ban Merritt from the London Games.

Merritt's ban runs from 28 October 2009, when he first tested positive, meaning he will be eligible for the 2011 World Championships next August.

As he cooperated with doping authorities, arbitrators took three months off the normal two-year ban for first-time offenders.

The 24-year-old, who also clinched the world 400m title in Berlin in 2009, accepted a provisional suspension earlier this year after he admitted using an over-the-counter male enhancement product containing DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and pregnenolone.

Merritt acknowledged on Monday he had made a mistake and said the three-member arbitration panel "agreed that I have never taken any substance to gain an advantage on the track".

He added: "I look forward to returning to competition as soon as possible and proving that my prior successes, including at the Olympic Games, were achieved honestly and fairly."

see also
Merritt given 21-month doping ban
18 Oct 10 |  Athletics
400m star Merritt tests positive
22 Apr 10 |  Athletics
Superb Merritt takes 400m title
21 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Merritt clinches shock 400m gold
21 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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