A FORMER British shot-putter has been given hope in his long battle to clear his name following a life ban for failing a doping test.
Paul Edwards is citing the case of Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown, who was cleared of failing a doping test on appeal earlier this year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The 55-year-old, of Woolford Way, Winklebury, believes aspects of her case are similar to his own, in that she claimed errors were made in collection procedures and possible “environmental contamination” of her urine sample.
Mr Edwards, a former Olympic and Commonwealth Games athlete, has since been in touch with Basingstoke MP Maria Miller to see if more can be done to clear his name.
He said: “She has contacted the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Court of Arbitration for Sport to say this is unfair when Victoria Campbell-Brown has been reinstated in exactly the same circumstances.”
Mrs Miller told The Gazette: “I have worked with Paul Edwards for almost 10 years to help him clear his name.
“He feels strongly that the drug testing regime let him down, and that there is further evidence to support his case. It is only right that this evidence is properly reviewed.”
Mr Edwards was banned for taking anabolic steroids in 1994 and flew home from the Commonwealth Games in disgrace.
He was banned for four years, but then became the first British athlete to receive a lifetime ban when he failed a testosterone test in 1997 during legal proceedings to overturn his initial ban.
Mr Edwards denies taking any performance-enhancing drugs, and has sought to clear his name with the help of experts who uncovered new evidence.
Dope-testing expert Dr Simon Davis claimed there were number of errors made in the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London (KCL), which tested the urine samples that incriminated Mr Edwards.
Among the claims were that there had not been enough urine in the samples to conduct the tests, and that one urine sample was opened with a hacksaw.
Dr Davis also said the testing machine had not been calibrated properly – although the university has since claimed calibration data was not then necessary under Olympic Committee guidelines.
Mr Edwards has since failed to have the evidence reviewed. In November last year, a High Court judge refused his legal action against UK Athletics, UK Sport and KCL for loss of earnings, due to it being time-barred.
Mr Edwards said: “I am not really interested in damages – I am interested in justice. I want justice and fairness.”