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Failed doping appeals rule two lifters out ofMelbourne
[February 04, 2006]

Failed doping appeals rule two lifters out ofMelbourne

(The Herald Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TWO Australian female weightlifters who were due to compete at the Commonwealth Games have failed with appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over use of the stimulant benzylpiperazine, it was announced yesterday.

Camilla Fogagnolo and Jenna Myers are now ineligible. So, too, are male lifters Sergo Chakhoyan and Corran Hocking, who tested positive for the same drug last year. Their appeal hearings have been delayed until March 30, so neither can compete in Melbourne.

The Australian Weightlifting Federation had been expected to announce their squad in December, but were unable to do so because of the hearings.

England are in a similar position. Four of their lifters are under investigation, having failed tests last summer. The team must be named by a week on Wednesday. Steve Cannon, chief executive of the British Weightlifters Association, is anxious that due process runs its course, but said there is little chance of investigations being concluded in time to resolve the eligibility of the four by March 15.

An alternative (and therefore substantially weaker) team would be named, with the country's four best lifters ineligible for Melbourne. They all failed tests at the Commonwealth trials and are attempting to prove that elevated male hormone levels occurred naturally.

BWLA are being cautious because they have been threatened with legal action in the past over alleged breaches of confidentiality.

One of their members, Christine Johnson, was revealed in the UK Sport doping audit on Thursday to have been banned for two years for a second cannabis offence. There is no mention of the four other positives, exclusively revealed last year by The Herald, and BWLA have thus far declined to name those under investigation.

The UKS audit, which shows out-of-competition tests to have reached 49.5-per cent of their annual total, is thus painting an artificial picture of the current state of sport in Britain. They decline to log any cases until a competitor is processed by their governing body. In the past, threats of litigation have successfully gagged some sports.

British weightlifting finances already face meltdown, with powerlifting recently threatening a complete breakaway.

The World Anti-Doping Agency claimed yesterday that French scientists have discovered a way to detect genetic blood doping, the practice of which was publicly revealed for the first time just 24 hours earlier at the trial in a Magdeburg court of sprint coach Thomas Springstein.

The German was banned for his role in coaching the drug-tainted former world champions Silke Moller and Katrin Krabbe. In a raid on his house, e-mails were found referring to a drug normally used in gene therapy.

French National Doping Laboratory research published in the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy states that the hormone produced artificially is not the same as that produced naturally.

WADA have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to block the Olympic eligibility of skeleton racer Zach Lund, who tested positive for a banned steroid-masking agent in November, but has escaped with a warning from his US governing body.

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