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Disgraced Runner Johnson Appeals

August 3, 1999

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) _ Disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson met with top officials from track and field’s world governing body Tuesday in a last-ditch bid for reinstatement before his fate is decided at the end of the month.

The Canadian runner and his advisers faced the International Amateur Athletics Federation subcommittee set up to examine his reinstatement application.

The three-man group, led by IAAF General-Secretary Istvan Gyulai, will recommend to the body’s council whether or not to allow the runner back into competition.

If the council, which meets in Seville on Aug. 17, decides against Johnson it will be the end of the road: there is no possibility of an appeal.

But Johnson is confident of a comeback and even at 37 is dreaming of a return to the very top.

``My day will come. I have to clear my name and I hope to be in the Olympics next year,″ he told The Associated Press after the meeting. ``Things will be OK in a few weeks.″

His hopes rest on the high-level subcommittee’s assessment of his advisers’ case.

On Tuesday, it met for one-hour with John Thresher, president of Athletics Canada, which supports the runner’s reinstatement, before a two-hour dialogue with Johnson and his team.

IAAF officials declined to comment.

The runner’s lawyer, Gary Boyd, said Johnson wasn’t given the right to a full appeal after a 1993 positive drugs test, and there is a question of how his urine sample was tested.

It is alleged that the sample was held by a courier for 19 hours, during which time it could have been contaminated.

Also, at that time Johnson was taking an over-the-counter vitamin supplement, called AnimalPak.

Boyd said that the drug’s manufacturer has acknowledged that AnimalPak could have distorted Johnson’s sample.

``We just don’t want to get Ben off on a technicality,″ said Maurice Chrobotek, Johnson’s agent.

Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold medal and 100-meter world record after testing positive for steroids at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

He was suspended for life after the second positive test in 1993.

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