Reprieve for McMahon as IOC take lenient line


IRISH 5,000 metres runner Marie McMahon escaped with a severe reprimand from the International Olympic Committee yesterday after failing a drugs test.

The IOC Medical Commission accepted McMahon's claim that she had taken a medicine, which contained an analgesic, for cold symptoms. The 21 year old from Co Clare admitted taking two Robitussin decongestant pills to clear a "stuffy nose" without telling doctors.

Irish team doctor Joe Cummiskey told the IOC Medical Commission the athlete had made a terrible mistake but had not used the drug to boost her performance. McMahon finished 14th in her heat of the 5,000 metres last Friday.

IOC spokeswoman Michele Verdier said McMahon had been reprimanded for "not having consulted the Irish team doctors." Irish Olympic spokesman David Guiney said. "We are naturally absolutely delighted with the outcome of this very unfortunate incident.

It was a complete accident and Marie is devastated, but fortunately the authorities have acted realistically and properly and we will be very mindful of what they have said.

"Naturally, we want to put this behind us and celebrate our successes at these Olympics, which have been considerable, and put this minor drugs business into perspective.

Meanwhile, Russian Marina Tradenkova, fifth in the women's 100 metres, has been disqualified after testing positive for the stimulant Bromantan.

The 29 year old is the fourth Russian to have tested positive for the drug which the Russians deny is performance enhancing. The IOC claims the drug is a cocktail of steroids, stimulants, and masking agents.

Anatoly Kolcsov, head of the Russian Olympic team, said they would appeal against the findings.

Andrei Korneyev, men's 200 metres breastroke swimming bronze medallist, Zafar Gulcyev, the 48kg greco-roman wrestling bronze medal winner, and Nina Juvaniskia, last in the 200 metres backstroke swimming final, have all tested positive for the drug.

A Russian doctor for the Lithuanian team and a Belarus origin cycling coach for the Lithuanians have also been expelled after Lithuanian track cyclist Rita Razmaite also tested positive for the drug.

The Court of Sports Arbitration has started hearing the appeal over the first Russians who tested positive, but a result could take several days.

These are the first Olympics at which experts have been able to detect Bromantan which the Red Army is believed to have developed for combat troops.

Vadim Zclichyonok, head track and field coach, has admitted the Russians knew Bromantan might cause problems. Bromantan was our invention and it is supposed to build up an athlete's immune system. But there are some that say it also can work as a masking agent for anabolics and other drugs. We told our athletes to beware," he said.