AIS Track stars deny doping involvement
Track stars rebuff 'doping' attention
Members of the embattled AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) have hit out in response to the "Michael French affair" which is very high profile in Australia and across the world at the moment.
French was handed a 2 year suspension for drug offences by Australian Cycling early in June and this became a huge popular media interest last week when a question about the alleged systematic nature of doping at the AIS cycling centre was asked in the Australian Senate. This week, amid continued claims of his innocence, Mark French has been given a lifetime ban from representing Australia in Olympic competition for his offences.
The focus of the attention in the past week has been the alleged use of French's room at the AIS in Adelaide for injection of vitamins and also proscribed substances. It is claimed that up to 5 riders met there regularly to inject banned drugs including Equine Growth Hormone. French was called upon to 'name names' and to allow his allegations to be used in an investigation. This, he has now allowed, but the names of the other alleged involved cyclists cannot be revealed.
Domestically, questions and statements surrounding the affair were read out in the country's ruling Senate and the AOC (Australian Olympic Commission) called for an investigation into the affair to ensure that the drug allegations against all cyclists were complete prior to the date upon which the Olympic Team for Athens will be named - 9 July 2004.
As a result, a group of 7 AIS track cyclists have taken the opportunity to make a statement about their non-involvement in this affair. Cycling Australia is keen to point out that none of the cyclists are necessarily implicated with involvement and no inference of such is to be taken by their release of the statement.
The riders include 3 women on the track squad - Rosealee Hubbard, Anna Meares and Kerrie Meares (Kerrie is currently recovering from a back injury and not in competition / selection for Athens (to see story - click here). Hubbard and A Meares are in line for Athens selection. A Meares recently won a gold and silver at the World Track Championships in Melbourne (to see story - click here)
The rider's statement, released by Cycling Australia reads :
"Joint statement by members of the AIS / National Track Sprint Cycling program
22 June 2004
the undersigned, are members of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) /
Cycling Australia (CA) Track Sprint Cycling program, and would like to
make the following statement in relation to the recent doping allegations.
Cycling Australia has welcomed the appointment of former West Australian Justice Robert Anderson QC to head a further independent investigation.
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