Sprinter Likely to Lose Gold Medals After Positive Test

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MONTE CARLO – American sprinter Kelli White is likely to be stripped of her 100m and 200m world championship gold medals after confirmation yesterday that her B sample was positive.

White tested positive for the banned stimulant modafinil in a urine test after her 100m victory at the world athletics championships in Paris in August.

“I can officially confirm it [that the B sample is positive],” said Nick Davies, a spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations, in Monte Carlo.

The 26-year-old sprinter told the association that she purchased and used Modafinil to treat a medical condition which ran in her family.

She also said she believed she did not have to declare the modafinil because it was not on the list of banned substances.

Because of that, White has escaped a two-year ban, although modafinil will be named in the list of the World Anti-Doping Agency as of January 1.

In August, the association ratified the agency's world anti-doping code, which harmonises efforts to catch cheats.

American hurdler Chris Phillips, who finished fifth in the 110m hurdles, also had a positive B sample for modafinil.

Both cases have now been referred to the United States Anti-Doping Agency by the association, and it is expected to hand them over to the world agency.

* A leading scientist says the anti-doping agency is close to unveiling tests that will detect “gene doping”.

The move follows mounting concern that gene therapy, used to treat chronic medical conditions such as muscular dystrophy, is being misused by unscrupulous athletes and coaches.

Professor Geoff Goldspink, of the University College in London, speaking on the sidelines of the four-day IOC medical congress in Athens, said testing technology was “almost there – we can already detect illicit DNA and introduced gene products”.

Goldspink has been compiling a report which is expected to be handed to the world agency in Lausanne in a fortnight.

Congress delegates warned that gene doping presents a “clear and present danger” and that international sports authorities are facing the next generation of sports cheats.

“We can put genes into mice and create Arnold Schwarzenegger mice,” Goldspink said.

“If it can be done on mice it can be done on humans.”

Laboratory mice had shown that gene transfer could lead to a 25 per cent increase in muscle mass within two weeks, he said.

“It's inevitable that we will have this kind of doping – if we don't already have it.

“Once the technology exists for medical use, disreputable people will be putting the stuff in athletes.”

Scientists at the congress said present testing methods aimed at catching athletes using banned substances such as anabolic steroids or amphetamines or adderall were unable to catch gene cheats.

– REUTERS

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