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THE SIDELINES : Another Hurdle for Ben Johnson

August 10, 1990| From Times Wire Services

OTTAWA — Ben Johnson got the green light from the Canadian government to return to competition, but his eligibility for teams sanctioned by the Canadian Olympic Assn. has not been determined, the association said today.

The COA, which has jurisdiction over Canadian participation in the Olympics and the Pan American Games, said in a news release that it reserves the right to extend any suspension imposed by national or international federations.

Johnson was barred by track's world governing body and the Canadian association after he tested positive for steroids at the 1988 Olympics.

Federal Sport Minister Marcel Danis announced Thursday that although the government's lifetime ban on funding to the Toronto sprinter would remain in effect, any decision on competitive sanctions would rest with the sport's national governing body, Athletics Canada.

Johnson's two-year suspension from international competition ends Sept. 24, and Athletics Canada says he will be welcomed back, provided he meets team qualifying standards.

Frank Ratcliffe, communications manager for the Canadian Olympic Assn., said in an interview that although the COA will not necessarily extend the suspension when its executive committee meets next month in Toronto, it reserves the right to do so.

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