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Swimmers’ Nandrolone Ban Reviewed

April 25, 2000

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ World swimming’s governing body appears ready to lift the four-year suspensions given to two swimmers who tested positive for nandrolone.

FINA said Tuesday it had received evidence that the steroid could have been present in meat the swimmers consumed.

Any rollback of the suspension could have wide implications for the many cases of positive nandrolone findings among elite athletes.

Long-distance swimmers David Mecca-Medina of Spain and Igor Majcen of Slovenia were suspended in August 1999 by FINA after testing positive for the steroid. The two subsequently lost an appeal against the ban Feb. 29 in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The swimmers argued that the positive tests came after they ate meat of uncastrated pigs in a local dish called ``sarapatel″ before a meet in Brazil.

In a statement Tuesday, FINA said lawyers for Mecca-Medina and Majcen offered evidence that recent tests showed three volunteers had eaten a meal of boar meat and subsequently showed signs of nandrolone metabolites.

FINA said the results ``warrant further examinations which may lead to a review″ of the suspensions.

The swimming body said the lawyers for the two swimmers would file a ``revision petition″ with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. FINA said if the court agreed to review the cases, the bans would be temporarily lifted.

FINA said it had agreed to the review to ``contribute to fair experiments in order to remove any possible uncertainties with regard to findings of nandrolone metabolites.″

Nandrolone, a steroid that has been available for decades and is easily detectable in standard urine tests, produced a total of 343 positive cases across all sports last year.

Among the high-profile athletes who have tested positive for nandrolone are 1992 Olympic 100-meter champion Linford Christie, former world 200-meter champion Merlene Ottey and former Olympic 5,000-meter gold medalist Dieter Baumann.

In March, track and field’s world governing body said it would carry out research to determine whether food supplements or herbal preparations can trigger positive tests for nandrolone.

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