Commonwealth Games 2002
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Sports Talk Friday, 2 August, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Fair outcome in Collins case?
Commonwealth Games 100m gold medallist Kim Collins keeps his title despite testing positive for a banned substance.

Has the right decision been made?


The St Kitts and Nevis sprinter tested positive for salbutamol, but will be able to keep his title because the substance was contained in medication he was using to treat asthma.

The Commonwealth Games Federation confirmed that Collins should have declared the medication before he was tested, but he will not be penalised for the oversight.

The case has similarities to that of British skier Alain Baxter, who was stripped of his bronze medal at the Winter Olympics after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

Baxter claimed that the substance came from an American Vicks nasal stick, but his punishment was upheld.

Has the Collins case been properly dealt with?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your emails appears below.

The matter has been dealt with fairly, subutamol is only a reliever of an asthma attack it is not performance enhancing, a lot of sportsmen and women have asthma which requires the same treatment as everyone else who has it.

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A "mistake" is no excuse if it is performance enhancing
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Tim, UK

However, Dick Pound take note, the treatment of Alain Baxter was a disgrace and he should be given HIS bronze medal back right now, because there is no difference in either case.
John Smyth,UK

The only question here is 'is this drug performance enhancing' (and if not, why is it on the banned list). If it isn't, then fair play to Collins, enjoy your victory.

However, if it is, then even if it is for a medical condition it should not be allowed. Athletes should be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by their medical conditions. Equally, a "mistake" is no excuse if it is performance enhancing.

While Collins deserves due process and the assumption of innocence, I do wonder how quickly we would condemn if he were from an Eastern bloc country.
Tim, UK

I think the correct decision was made. It is unfortunate that the athlete did not remember to declare the medication before competing, but we often forget to do important things. I wonder if athletes are suppose to refrain from taking vital medication, perform, and die while competing? Do we want a pound of flesh from around the heart?
Captain Michael Penny,Texas, USA

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I think that the decision to not disqualify him was fair
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Robert Morris,St. Kitts

Someone mentioned that a 100m runner could not have asthma. WHAT! Can you say JJ Kersee? The right decision was made. The key word in this fair judgment is "judgement."
Dedan,Virgin Islands

I think that if Collins was taking a medication he should be let off, but he should have said first. I think he was great and really should be known as a hero in St Kitts because he was the only medal winner, and he won a gold.
Laura, England

I think that the decision to not disqualify him was fair. The banned substance was not used for enhancement but a treatment for a genuine medical condition.
Robert Morris,St. Kitts

He should be given a medal for outstanding achievement, let alone the gold! For him to win that with asthma was brilliant. His country's first ever medal to boot.

I think Paul Scholes was 'accused' of using the same asthma drug in the World Cup - does this mean he has to give back all of his football medals too? People should try to play any sport with a disability like that before they start condemning, or prattling on about 'rules'!
Kyle, England

Of course Kim Collins should keep his gold medal. Any fault lies entirely with his national body, for failing to submit the relevant paperwork.
Dr. Philip Hollywood,England

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I do not believe that an athlete who can win a medal in the 100m sprint can suffer from asthma
end quote
Dave H,UK

He won because he worked hard and deserved to win. I'm certain that he is not the first or the last to have made such a mistake. This is his time to celebrate. Kim shine on! You have many more medals to receive.

The drug is not performance-enhancing and was taken for a documented medical illness. Justice has won the day. I hope Kim Collins learns from this experience, as other decision-makers may not be that lenient.
Mikey Ryan,St. Kitts

I do not believe that an athlete who can win a medal in the 100m sprint can suffer from asthma. Asthma affects the transport of oxygen across the lining of the lungs. He would need to be breathing heavily to supply the oxygen to his muscles. It just doesn't seem plausible!
Dave H,UK

The right decision was made. One of the key points I think is that the drug is not performance enhancing. The argument that an unfair decision was made in the case of Alain Baxter is no reason to justify another unfair decision now. After all civilization is about not repeating the mistakes of the past.
Anthony Galloway,St. Kitts

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Kim Collins has been treated with fairness and common sense
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Annie Gregory, UK

Every athlete in the Games should obey the rules to the letter. In this day and age, if he and his coach looked into it I'm sure they could have found a satisfactory alternative, which would not even come close to being illegal as this "medication" was.
James Tiller,England

Whilst I have no doubt that Collins' asthmatic condition is genuine, he should have been disqualified. I personally have no more than a passing interest in athletics, but even I knew that the use of medication, however routine, should have been disclosed prior to competition.

Some would say that common sense has prevailed, but until it does in all cases it seems unfair to me to make exceptions.
Steve, England

Kim Collins has been treated with fairness and common sense - unlike skier Alain Baxter, for whom justice must now be a dirty word. How come the CGF can use its collective brain while IOC is capable only of knee-jerk reactions?
Annie Gregory, UK

Will this new spirit of 'fairness' be retrospectively applied to Alan Baxter, whose drug use was even more innocent? Collins knew what he was taking, Alain Baxter didn't. Fair? I don't think so.

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Any sports competitor who has any illegal substance whatsoever in their system should be banned
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John Kempel, Australia

Although convinced of Kim Collins' innocence, this is another example of the haphazard way in which athletics approaches drug testing. Having somehow contrived to not ban Olga Yegorova last year, you would imagine a strict policy covering all competitions would have been introduced.

However, though the officials say that the rules are clear - the use of medication must be declared before an event - an experienced athlete like Collins failed to adhere to them. This only adds to the uncertainty surrounding drug use in the sport and detracts from the performances of genuine, 'clean' athletes.
Alastair Cox, England

Any sports competitor who has any illegal substance whatsoever in their system should be banned and any medal won taken from them. This is the only way to ensure cheating is stamped out. Athletes with a medical condition know the rules; ignorance is no excuse and will always cause suspicion.
John Kempel, Australia

We're in grave danger of ending up in a situation where athletes' health starts getting risked by restricting treatment for bona-fide medical conditions.

The error here was administrative; there was no question that Collins was not asthmatic, nor that he used the drug for any reason other than the proper medical one? It is no small achievement for somebody with asthma to gain such a stunning medal. It was a fair outcome.
JP, England

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Thank goodness common sense has prevailed - Kim Collins won fair and square
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Rodger Edwards, UK

If the powers that be are to be seen to be consistent across the board in all major athletic events, then the same rules applied to one should apply to another. Alain Baxter only took medication for a cold, and was stripped of his medal.

The same should apply in this case - if you test positive, you get banned. It should not matter if it is one substance or another. If Collins is allowed to keep his medal, I think Alain Baxter has an equally good claim to his. If I were him I would be asking the authorities some tough questions.
John Nicholls, England

It certainly seems like the logical decision to allow Kim Collins to keep his gold medal, as the drug was taken for medicinal purposes and is not really performance enhancing.However, there must be more clarification on this matter in sport as a whole. You can not have a situation where one athlete is let off on the grounds of common sense, while Alain Baxter is currently suffering from an extremely harsh decision to remove his medal from the slalom in the Winter Olympics.

Like Kim Collins, he was ignorant of the infringement (it was a nasal spray that contained the banned drug) and it was not performance enhancing.
Paul Carley, England

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Justice, and the spirit of the rules have prevailed here
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Paul Hills, Manchester, England

It is clear that there has been a major breakdown in communication in this case. Thank goodness common sense has prevailed - Kim Collins won fair and square.
Rodger Edwards, UK

Bren (below) has a point about adhering to the rules. However, the rules are there to prevent people cheating. If it is evident that the athlete was not cheating, then adhering strictly to that rule is not achieving anything.

I believe justice, and the spirit of the rules has prevailed here, rather than the written rule itself which would have been a travesty.
Paul Hills, Manchester, England

I think it is impossible to ever discern a clear distinction between medical use and performance enhancing use. In this case, I believe that the ruling was the correct one, given that the athlete had medical proof of his condition, as well as an independent test to verify the condition.

However, I do believe that some sanction should be applied, since the rules state that pre-existing conditions be declared prior to competition, and in this case, this did not happen.

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Only athletes with pharmacy degrees should be allowed to compete in future games
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To brush it aside as "an oversight" is a convenient manner of avoiding the deeper issues of why the condition and medication used to treat it were not declared prior to competition.

I'm pleasantly surprised that the authorities have made the correct decision for once.
Stephen Graham,Scotland

I think only athletes with pharmacy degrees should be allowed to compete in future games. This way there is no excuse.

The guy has asthma and he has been running brilliantly for the last two years. Of course he should keep his medal. He would have beaten Chambers no matter what. It was just his day.

Yes he should keep his title. Asthma is so common now, many athletes will be on this type of medication. It is a simple mistake to not declare something that becomes part of your daily life and is therefore routine.

I think the matter was resolved fairly.
Winston McMahon,St.Kitts

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