Kelli White may lose both gold medals

KELLI WHITE'S positive test for modafinil, a stimulant, was leaked to the French sports daily, L'Equipe, forcing the IAAF to issue an official clarification the next day.

However, even after the IAAF Vice President, Prof. Arne Ljungqvist, addressed a press conference on the matter, confusion remained as to whether the substance was to be categorised under `stimulants' or `amphetamines'.

Later, the IAAF explained that it was indeed a stimulant and the punishment, if the offence was proved, would be disqualification and stripping of both the 100m and 200m gold medals that White won. There would be no suspension. Had it been under amphetamines, there could have been a two-year suspension in case the offence was proved.

White defended herself saying that she "was taking the medicine for a condition (sleepiness) that ran in the family". The medicine, she argued, "was not on the banned list and she had no intention of cheating".

The most important point, however, was that White had not written down the medicine in the dope form. Even if she had, if it is proved that there was a doping offence, she would still lose the medals.

Though modafinil is expected to be included in the prohibited list only from January 2004, the IAAF is trying to find out whether it could be clubbed under the `related substances' clause with any other known stimulant.

In case the USATF exonerates White, the IAAF will have the right to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Lausanne.

The USATF is already under fire from all quarters for having refused to divulge the name of Jerome Young, the newly-crowned 400m world champion who tested positive for nandrolone in 1999 and was suspended briefly before an appeals panel overturned the ban.

Young was then allowed to compete in the Sydney Olympics and won a gold as the sixth member of the 4x400m relay team. Young was named as the `guilty' athlete in an article published in the Los Angeles Times during the World championships in Paris.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) have now formed a joint commission to investigate the entire case afresh. The IAAF stated that it had accepted the decision of CAS on the matter and was no longer interested in re-opening the case based on a newspaper report alone.