Athletics

Merritt in Olympic ban U-turn

2011-10-06 17:11
LaShawn Merritt (File)
London - Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt was cleared to defend his 400-metre title in London next year after the American won his appeal Thursday against an IOC rule banning doping offenders from the games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport invalidated the International Olympic Committee rule that bars any athlete who has received a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next summer or winter games.

The three-man CAS panel said the rule, adopted in 2008, was "invalid and unenforceable" because it amounted to a second sanction and did not comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

It said the rule amounted to a "disciplinary sanction" rather than a matter of eligibility.

Merritt, the American 400-metre gold medallist in Beijing, had been ineligible under the IOC rule to compete in London even though he completed his doping ban earlier this year after testing positive for a banned substance found in a male-enhancement product.

The U.S. Olympic Committee challenged the rule and was backed by several other national Olympic and anti-doping bodies.

The IOC maintained it had the right to decide who is eligible to take part in its games.

The IOC said Thursday it "fully respects" the CAS verdict and will comply with it. However, the IOC said it would push for the rule to be included in a revised WADA code in 2013.

The CAS decision means Merritt becomes eligible to compete in London, as do other athletes around the world who have been affected by the rule.

"We're obviously happy about that," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.

"LaShawn made an error that he even amitted was a silly error. We're glad he's going to be able to compete."

The verdict against the IOC also opens the door for athletes in Britain to challenge a British Olympic Association rule that bans drug offenders for life from the games.

Among those affected by the British ban are sprinter Dwain Chambers, a former European 100-metre champion who served a two-year ban in the BALCO scandal, and cyclist David Millar, who also was suspended for two years for use of EPO.

"The IOC has a zero tolerance against doping and has shown and continues to show its determination to catch cheats," the IOC said in a statement.

"We are therefore naturally disappointed since the measure was originally adopted to support the values that underpin the Olympic Movement and to protect the huge majority of athletes who compete fairly.

Read more on:    2012 olympic games
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

How much of a runner are you?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.