Sat, Aug 05, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Graham's stars banned from Berlin

NOT INVITED The organizer of next month's Berlin Golden League event said athletes trained by Justin Gatlin's trainer Trevor Graham would not be welcome

AGENCIES , BERLIN AND COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

Marion Jones and Trevor Graham analyze her long jump form by watching it on a video camera during practice at the North Carolina State track in Raleigh in this May 25, 1999, photo.

PHOTO: AP

Agencies, BERLIN and Colorado Springs, Colorado

The organizer of Berlin's Golden League event said athletes trained by US sprinter Justin Gatlin's coach Trevor Graham would not be invited to the Sept. 3 meeting and urged other top European events to do the same.

Gerhard Janetzky, managing director of Berlin's Golden League event, said that US sprinter Marion Jones, who was once trained by Graham, was also "not being considered" for the meet in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

"The nine athletes coached by Trevor Graham will not be invited," he said at a news conference on Thursday. "We cancelled negotiations with Marion Jones, who would have liked to have competed in Berlin."

The Berlin event is the final leg of a six-meet circuit of European competitions which feature a jackpot of US$1 million.

The decision excludes Gatlin, the Olympic and world 100 meters champion who said he tested positive for testosterone but denies any wrongdoing, and 200 meters Olympic champion Shawn Crawford.

Dwight Thomas of Jamaica, 100 meters winner in Berlin last year, will also not be invited because of his links to Graham, the former coach of disgraced world record holder Tim Montgomery and several other athletes who have received doping suspensions.

In response Graham said by telephone on Thursday: "I have heard that but I have no comment. They are just going off the comments that Michael Johnson wrote about in the British newspaper."

LIFE BAN

Earlier this week in a British newspaper US former 200 and 400 Olympic champion Johnson called for Graham to be banned for life because several athletes who trained under him had tested positive.

The International Association of Athletics Federations said it would monitor Gatlin's case and if the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) procedure confirmed the violation Gatlin would receive a life ban as this was his second doping offence.

Gatlin is joint world record holder for 100 meters with Jamaican Asafa Powell.

Janetzky said that he hoped other Golden League meets in Paris, Oslo, Rome, Zurich and Brussels would be "similarly sensitive when it comes to signing athletes for their meets."

Meanwhile, the US Olympic Committee banned Graham from its training centers and training sites on Thursday.

Chairman Peter Ueberroth made the announcement during a conference call and said the ban was "permanent."

"If there's something that convinces us to change our position, we'll look at it at a future time," he said.

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