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Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Monday, 11 October 2010 19:04 UK

Commonwealth Games 2010: Cram on doping and track chaos

Osayemi Oludamola

Osayemi wins 100m after 'winner' Pearson is disqualified (UK users only)

By Steve Cram
BBC athletics commentator in Delhi

After the confusion that has surrounded the athletics stadium at these Commonwealth Games over the last week, I was almost pleased to see a positive dope test.

In the back of your mind you wonder - with everything else going wrong - whether testing is working properly.

But this positive test, together with the news of over 700 negative tests, shows World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) officials are able to conduct tests as they wants to, which is good.

Nigeria's Damola Osayemi is not one of the world's top sprinters - she's top-20 at best. She has tested positive for a fairly low-level stimulant and I would expect a ban of between three and six months, which is probably proportionate to the crime.

But it has occurred in the 100m at a major event, so of course there is a lot of publicity.

The wider issue for me is that the whole saga of the women's 100m has encapsulated some of the issues that have been swirling around here in Delhi.

Games chief confirms failed drugs test

This is the final that was run with England's Laura Turner taking part under protest, having been disqualified for a false start, then the initial winner - Sally Pearson of Australia - was disqualified just before she stepped on the podium.

Osayemi, who finished second, could now be stripped of gold if her B sample also fails testing, and England's Katherine Endacott may end up with silver.

Top athletics officials from around the world have been working with local officials and it's just not gelling.

They are too reliant on four or five top people, who are being over-worked and having to take responsibility for areas that wouldn't normally fall in their remits.

Alan Bell, the starter for the 100m, had to make a decision allowing Turner to run, because the referee - who should have made the call - was not around.

Bell was also one of the officials lamenting the fact the hurdles were not put out in time for the 400m hurdles final.

Also on Sunday night, a protest against Cyprus sprinter Eleni Artymata, and her subsequent appeal, led to the women's 200m being postponed by a day.

Because the stadium is so open, Artymata couldn't even find her team manager to put the appeal in. No one could work out whether it was a protest, whether she had been disqualified, because there was no notification.

The drug Osayemi has been found to have been using, methylhexaneamine, is the one that has been causing trouble in the last 18 months, and it has only recently gone on the banned list.

We need to keep battling away - finding the new products that people are taking

It's a geranium extract which is fairly commonly used. The stimulant is used by bodybuilders to help bring their core temperatures down so they can pump more iron.

And I'm also told the New Zealand government is considering banning it because it is readily available as a party pill there.

Several Jamaican sprinters tested positive for it and 11 Indian athletes from different sports were also found to have been using it recently.

When you are in a system, like the British one, you are told clearly not to take anything without checking with a team physician or the governing body.

But Osayemi is not working with her national federation - as she is based in the United States - so she probably thought that, if other people were taking it, it would be OK.

It could be easy to point the finger at Nigeria because they don't yet have a national anti-doping programme, but Osayemi should be subject to random testing in the US.

She was also part of the Nigeria 4x100m relay squad that won bronze at the Beijing Olympics, so would have had to go through testing then.

There are lots of things people take to improve performance which are not on the banned list - the England rugby sevens team here at the Commonwealth Games are drinking beetroot juice to aid recovery.

It is part and parcel of top-class sport. If people think a substance is not on the banned list, they take it, and sometimes they are caught out when it is added to the list.

We need to keep battling away, finding the new products that people are taking, and narrow down that list of what it is acceptable for people to take.

Steve Cram was speaking to BBC Sport's Martin Gough



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see also
Nigerian athlete stripped of gold
12 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Oyepitan takes Delhi 200m silver
11 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games


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