Dwain Chambers banned for two years

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> British sprinter Dwain Chambers was suspended for two years on Tuesday over a positive test for the drug THG.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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British sprinter Dwain Chambers was suspended for two years on Tuesday over a positive test for the drug THG. The European one-hundred-metre champion is the first athlete banned for use of THG, a previously undetectable steroid at the heart of a major US-based doping scandal. Chambers tested positive for THG, or tetrahydrogestrinone, in an out-of-competition screening in Germany on August 1. But he maintained he never knowingly took a banned substance. The runner blamed his positive THG test on nutritional supplements he said were provided by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), which is at the centre of an alleged steroid-distribution ring. Four people were indicted this month, including BALCO founder Victor Conte and Chambers's coach, Remi Korchemny. Chambers said he was assured by Conte that all the supplements he was given were within international rules. Conte has denied being the source of THG. Along with Conte and Korchemny, BALCO vice-president James Valente, and Greg Anderson, the personal trainer of baseball star Barry Bonds, were charged on February 12 with distributing steroids to top athletes. All four pleaded innocent and have a bail hearing on Friday. Chambers's lawyer, Graham Shear, said Chambers maintained that he had never knowingly taken a performance enhancing substance. Along with Chambers, four other track and field athletes also tested positive for the designer drug last summer. They were all Americans: shot putter Kevin Toth, 1,500-metre runner Regina Jacobs and hammer throwers Melissa Price and John McEwen. UK Athletics said the ban on Chambers would last until November 7, 2005 - the st art of his suspension was back-dated to November 7, the day his backup test was confirmed positive. Under British Olympic Association rules, he also is banned for life from the Olympics. Chambers has 60 days to appeal to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, Chambers, whose best one-hundred-metre time is 9.87 seconds, is considering a switch to American Football as a wide receiver. He recently had a private tryout in London and was scheduled to fly to Miami this week for an NFL Europe training camp. (AP)