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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 15:25 GMT

Bell stunned at Baxter news

Former British skier Graham Bell is confident that Olympic bronze medallist Alain Baxter did not knowingly take a banned substance.

The performance director for the British Ski and Snowboard Federation told BBC Sport Online that he spoke to Baxter at the weekend after hearing the news from the British Olympic Association.

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Inquiry Commission found slalom medallist Baxter had produced a positive sample for the prohibited substance methamphetamine.

"I'm confident that he wasn't cheating - very confident"
Graham Bell

The Commission subsequently told the BOA, who released the information on its website.

"Alain was told the news on Friday and he is naturally devastated," said Bell.

"The drug methamphetamine is a stimulant and it would help you on the day, maybe improve your performance on the day.

"It's not a steroid or any of the doping drugs that generally get tested for.

"The whole situation has been difficult for everybody. Because Alain's event was one of the last of the Olympics, there has been a bit of a wait to find out the results of the drug tests.

"As far as I know there will be a hearing and it'll probably be sometime next week.

"I'm confident that he wasn't cheating. Very confident."

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