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LaShawn Merritt Shouldn’t Be Banned From London Games – Blackmun

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 28:  LaShawn Merritt of USA celebrates victory in the Mens 400m race during the IAAF Golden League Weltklasse Zurich meeting at the Stadion Letzigrund on August 28, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Scott Blackmun, the US Olympic Committee chief is hoping the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would participate in an arbitration involving the banning of Olympic 400 metres champion LaShawn Merritt from the 2012 London Games.

The American sprinter was handed a 21 month suspension by an American Arbitration Association panel last month after he tested positive for banned substances he said were in a male enhancement product.

Although the suspended time would elapse in July 2011, the IOC has an established rule that prevents any athlete sanctioned for six months or more from participating in the next Olympics.

The arbitrators believes the IOC’s rule went against the World Anti-Doping Agency code and thus, it should not be right to ban Merritt from the London Games.

“Am I going to devote my life the next two years to training for the Olympic Games and not be able to compete?”Blackmun said.

“We have an arbitration decision that says we have to let Mr Merritt compete in the Olympic trials, but if he competes in the Olympic trials and secures a spot, the IOC has said he is not eligible to compete in the Olympic Games.

“My hope is that we can get the IOC together with WADA and the other involved parties and get some decision sooner rather than later, so that our athletes don’t have all that uncertainty the next two years,” he added.

Written By

Gary Smith is one of the leading writers for World-Track.org. He has over 10 years of running experience, as well as eight-years of coaching while covering several events, from the international to college level. Smith, who has covered events for publications such as Caribbean Net News, Cayman Net News, AFP and Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), is also a frequent contributor of SportingAlert.com and TrackAlerts.com.

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