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Banned drug found in Jamaican sprinters’ 2008 samples

Danny O’Brien and Melbourne Cup winner Mark Kavanagh successfully overturned their multi-year bans for doping

BERLIN, Germany, April 2 – Small amounts of the banned substance clenbuterol have been retroactively found in the samples of Jamaican sprinters at the 2008 Olympic Games, according to a report on Sunday.

German broadcaster ARD claims the International Olympic Committee (IOC) learnt of the discovery late last year, but no action has been taken as the levels detected by testing using updated techniques are so small.

ARD has not specified which athletes’ samples are affected from the Beijing Games, where Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won three gold medals, but said other athletes from other countries also failed retroactive testing.

The ARD report quotes Olivier Niggli, director of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), saying: “I am aware of the fact that there are Jamaican cases with very low levels of clenbuterol.

“If the amounts found are relatively low compared to direct intake of the substance, WADA accepts that such cases are not announced.”

Jamaica originally won five golds in the sprint events at the 2008 Games.

However, the 4x100m men’s relay team had to give their golds back in January after Bolt’s team-mate Nesta Carter retrospectively tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine.

According to ARD, the IOC has confirmed that “very low clenbuterol levels” had been detected in “several athletes from several countries and in several sports” in retroactive testing from samples taken at the 2008 games.

However, all the values were “in the range that can be caused by contaminated meat”, the IOC told ARD.

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Clenbuterol is the performance-enhancing substance which saw Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and banned for two years after testing positive during that year’s race.

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