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Athletics | International

Michael Rodgers © Gallo Images

Rodgers banned, but gets Olympics hope



American sprinter Michael Rodgers was slapped with a nine-month ban after failing a drug test at a track meet last year in Italy, the US Anti-Doping Agency announced on Thursday.

The 2009 US champion in the 100 metres tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine which has been at the centre of numerous failed tests and doping bans over the past few years.

American anti-doping officials made Rodgers' suspension retroactive to last July when he failed the test meaning he will be allowed to resume competition in about 10 weeks.

That also makes him eligible for the US Olympic trials and a spot on the American team at the 2012 London Olympics.

US doping officials said Rodgers first lied to the investigative panel then switched his story and admitted that he took a banned substance.

"Rodgers originally requested a hearing in front of independent American Arbitration Association (AAA) panel, at which he provided inaccurate and misleading testimony," US Anti-Doping Agency said in a news release.

"However, before the false testimony was acted upon by the arbitration panel, Rodgers came forward, acknowledged the truth to the US Anti-Doping Agency."

Rodgers originally claimed he drank vodka with an energy drink at a club two days before a meeting in Lignano, Italy which caused the positive test.

He later changed his story and said he took a supplement called Jack3d which caused the positive test.

Rodgers also had to pay for the cost of the arbitration hearing but USADA did not give details on the amount.

Methylhexaneamine has been implicated in several positive tests over the past few years involving athletes, including Nigerian track star Damola Osayemi who was stripped of her gold medal in the 100 metres at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

In December 2011, triathlete Dmitriy Smurov was suspended for two years for testing positive for methylhexaneamine.



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