Rugby athlete Katharine Merry
could still have her coach Linford Christie by her side as she bids
for Olympic glory next month.
100m Olympic champion Christie was banned from competition for two
years yesterday by the IAAF after it found him guilty of having the
drug nandrolone in his body.
It was thought that the ban
against Christie, who has maintained his innocence throughout, would
keep him out of the Olympics.
That would be a blow to Merry,
from Dunchurch, as he is her coach, and she would miss his advice in
the vital hours before she competes in the 400m.
But today it emerged that the
decision about Christie’s presence at the Olympics is down to the
British Olympic Committee.
IAAF general secretary Istvan
"This ban makes him
ineligible to compete in international or national competitions but
this sort of ban, in our judgment, has nothing to do with coaching.
"If he is accredited,
and this is a matter for the British Olympic Association, then he
can have access to the same facilities as any other coaches at the
As Christie has already
retired it could mean the ban is almost meaningless.
Although he has failed to
clear his name, athletes are guilty until they can prove that they did
not take the substance. Christie tested positive after he had retired
from full time racing.
Other casualties of the
nandrolone controversy are 200m runner Doug Walker, former hurdler
Gary Cadogan and Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey.
400m runner Mark Richardson
must wait to find out if he can run in Sydney, while Coventry Godiva
Harrier 200m star Marlon Devonish failed a test by a tiny fraction,
although no action was taken against him.