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Coach barred from US Olympic facilities

By Gene Cherry 04/08/2006 02:24:56 PM Comments (0)

Justin Gatlin's coach Trevor Graham has been banned from using US Olympic Committee (USOC) training centres and facilities, the USOC has announced.

The extraordinary action is being taken "based on the unusual number of athletes he has coached who have been convicted of doping offences," USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth told a teleconference.

More than half a dozen athletes coached or previously coached by Graham, including disgraced former 100m world record-holder Tim Montgomery, have been suspended for doping.

The group does not include Gatlin, who announced on Saturday he also has tested positive.

The Olympic and world 100m champion said he had failed a test for testosterone or its precursors. The joint 100m world record-holder faces a life ban.

Graham, who has denied any knowledge of doping by his athletes, could not immediately be reached for comment following USOC's decision.

However, his attorney criticised the USOC action.

"There is no basis for any ban of Trevor, and he will be pursuing all legal avenues available to him," Joseph Zeszotarski said in an email to Reuters.

"Trevor and I will be issuing a full statement this weekend that will address all of these issues."

The USOC has never previously banned a coach from its facilities in this manner, spokesman Darryl Seibel told Reuters.

"Not in this way, meaning on a permanent basis," he said from USOC headquarters in Colorado Spring.

The ban affects the use of three official training centres and 12 training sites and their high-performance services, Seibel said.

Graham's athletes train primarily at North Carolina Central University in Durham.

The ban was a second blow in quick succession for Graham. Earlier, organisers of Berlin's lucrative Golden League event said athletes trained by Graham would not be invited to the September 3 meeting.

US sport was rocked last week when it was announced both Gatlin and American Tour de France cycling winner Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone.

Graham touched off the BALCO laboratory doping scandal by anonymously sending a syringe containing a previously undetectable steroid to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

USADA chief executive officer Terry Madden said the agency supported very strongly the USOC's call to action against doping. He would not comment specifically on any investigation of Graham.

World Anti-Doping Agency leader Dick Pound praised the USOC ban.

"This is the first time they have sent a strong message of this nature," Pound told Reuters by telephone from his Montreal office.

USA Track & Field, athletics' US governing body, also said it was looking at ways to take privileges from those who are suspected of being involved in doping.

"USATF shares the USOC's concern over the influence coaches, trainers, managers and others might have over athletes who cheat," spokeswoman Jill Geer said in a statement.

"USATF also is aggressively examining ways in we can take action against, or withhold privileges from, individuals other than athletes who are suspected of being involved in doping."

The IAAF, the sport's international governing body, could not be reached for comment.

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