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August 20, 2009

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Jamaica relay team in crisis

FIVE Jamaican track and field athletes expected to run in the 4x100 and 4x400 meters relays at the world championships have been pulled off the team, the IAAF said yesterday.

Sprinters Yohan Blake, Marvin Anderson and Sheri-Ann Brooks as well as Allodin Fothergill and Lansford Spence had tested positive for the stimulant methylxanthine but were allowed to race by the IAAF pending an appeal.

"Jamaica will not enter these athletes," IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said. "The news I have is that they will not be running," he said.

Asked whether it was a Jamaican decision to remove them from the relay teams, Davies said: "Yes".

The athletes were initially cleared by the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission's (JADCO) disciplinary committee.

However, JADCO itself then appealed the verdict saying the substance had a similar structure to tuaminoheptane, a banned stimulant according to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Jamaica had said a final ruling on the matter would be taken after the August 15-23 worlds, prompting the IAAF to allow them to run as they had been cleared even though the appeal was pending.

The world athletics ruling body warned, though, that if Jamaica subsequently banned the athletes for doping, their results in the relays and any medals won would be taken away.

On Tuesday, Morocco's Jamel Chatbi withdrew from the steeplechase final after testing positive for the stimulant clenbuterol.

Chatbi, who was tested after the heats, is the first athlete to fail a drugs test here where the IAAF will carry out around 1,000 tests overall. He has denied doping and said medication prescribed to him after a nasal operation in Italy in March could be behind his positive test.


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