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A Top Finisher In N.Y. Marathon Reportedly Tested Positive For Drugs

November 22, 1986

BOSTON (AP) _ One of the top finishers in the New York Marathon has been notified that race authorities are investigating whether he had drugs in his system, according to a spokesman for The Athletics Congress, which sanctioned the Nov. 2 race.

An unnamed source quoted Friday by The Boston Herald said the athlete whose urine tested positive for drugs was one of the top three finishers, but not the winner.

The top three finishers at the first major American marathon to include drug testing were Giovanni Poli of Italy, Antoni Niemczak of Poland and Rob de Castella of Australia.

Athletics Congress spokesman Alvin Chriss said Thursday that the athlete has been notified and a second test would take place within a week. During testing the original urine sample is divided into two bottles, with one held in reserve in case a follow-up is needed.

The Herald said Niemczak reported that he had received a drug injection a day after undergoing a difficult tooth extraction 16 days before the New York Marathon.

″I was very weak, from loss of blood. The doctor said he’d give me an intra-muscular shot ‘to build you up, to make you stronger.’ I was in training, so I don’t know what he gave me,″ Niemczak said.

Niemczak also said he had taken both vitamins B and C.

Dr. Harmon Brown, chairman of the Athletics Congress’ Preventive Testing Committee, said most positives in runners’ drug tests involve cold medicines, and that in such cases, ″there is some latitude.″

″An athlete is told it is wrong to have the substance, in most cases an antihistamine, which is a stimulant, in his system. But he isn’t sanctioned or put on any list,″ Brown said.

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