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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Edwards fights doping case
Torri Edwards
World 100m champion Torri Edwards has pleaded her innocence after failing a drugs test which could rule her out of the Olympics in Athens.

The American tested positive for nikethamide in April, but claims she accidentally ingested the banned steroid in a glucose tablet.

She plans to go to the Court of Abritrarion for Sport if found guilty.

"I've never taken performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and never will. I've never had a need for it," she said.

Edwards finished second in the 100m at the US Olympic trials on Saturday, but could lose her place in the American team if found guilty of a doping violation.

"It would be horrible," the 27-year-old said.

"I've worked so hard to get to this point and I don't know what I would do if I had to sit out the Olympics."

NIKETHAMIDE EXPLAINED
Acts mainly on central nervous system
Is a respiratory and cardiovascular stimulant
Formerly used in the treatment of barbiturate overdose

Edwards, who is due to to face a US Anti-Doping Agency hearing on Monday, said she inadvertently took the substance when staying on the French island of Martinique for a competition.

The sprinter said she was given over-the-counter glucose tablets bought by her therapist and chiropractor, Dr Christopher Vincent, at a local sundry store in the tourist gift shop near her hotel.

"I didn't take the glucose to help myself run faster. I took the glucose to make me feel better," said Edwards.

Edwards was awarded the world 100m gold medal from last year after Kelli White, another US sprinter, was stripped of the title in June.

White has been suspended from competition for two years after admitting using steroids and several other banned substances.





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