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Graham athletes cannot compete in Berlin

4 August 2006

Berlin Golden League meet organisers will not allow athletes coached by Trevor Graham, who trains American sprinter Justin Gatlin, to compete at next month's event in Germany.

Olympic and world 100m champion Gatlin faces a life ban if a 'B' sample confirms his positive test for steroid testosterone. He also faces being stripped of the 100m world record he shares with Jamaican Asafa Powell.

"The nine athletes under Trevor Graham will not be invited to the Berlin meeting," said Gerhard Janetzky, who runs the September 3 event.

Graham, who claims Gatlin was the victim of sabotage, also coaches Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford and world 60m indoor champion Me'Lisa Barber.

The organisers have also decided not to invite triple Olympic champion Marion Jones, because of her implication in the Balco scandal.

However Janetzky said he was disappointed not all the European meetings adopted the same stance - American sprinter Jones competed in the Paris and Rome Golden League events.

Gatlin faces a ban for life at the age of just 24 because, apart from testing positive for testosterone in Kansas in April, he also failed a drugs test for the amphetamine Aderall at the 2001 US junior championships.

Later today organisers of the Zurich and Brussels Golden League meetings revealed that they would not follow Berlin's lead and boycott Graham's athletes "for the moment."

Wilfreid Meert, who organises the Brussels meet, said: "I don't think we should immediately make decisions about the athletes but it is high time the IOC, the American athletics federation and the IAAF targetted coaches.

"It is always the same ones who crop up. The athletes are suspended, sometimes for life but the coaches can start again."

Switzerland's Hansjorg Wirz, who organises the Zurich meet but who is also the European athletics federation president, adopted a similar position.

"Of course we have to send out a strong message," Wirz said.

"But I don't think we should take action in isolation because this doping problem does not only concern organisers. We should also wait for further information on the people under suspicion."

AFP

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