U.S. discus champion Kamy Keshmiri probably has lost his chance to compete for an Olympic gold medal at Barcelona because of a positive steroid test he claims was botched.
On Tuesday, the International Amateur Athletic Federation in London banned Keshmiri from international competition, pending an appeal, which probably won't be heard until after the Olympics, July 25-Aug. 9.
U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Moran said Keshmiri must appeal to The Athletics Congress, track and field's U.S. governing body, before he can appeal to the IAAF.
Brian Blutreich, a former thrower at UCLA who finished fifth at last month's U.S. trials at New Orleans, probably will replace Keshmiri. Carlos Scott, the fourth-place finisher, failed to better the Olympic qualifying standard of 207-4 by last Wednesday's deadline. Blutreich surpassed it with a personal-best of 209-4 in an all-comers meet Wednesday at Cal State Long Beach.
Moran said as far as Keshmiri's eligibility is concerned, the case "more or less mirrors that of Butch Reynolds, except Reynolds already has gone all the way through the appeals process. Reynolds is a part of the U.S. Olympic team, will go to the Olympics, but will not be allowed to compete by the IAAF.
"I'm sure TAC could put together an appeal for Keshmiri in a matter of hours, but the IAAF appeal probably would drag on, and they hold the ultimate authority," Moran said.
TAC said it would not comment on Keshmiri's situation until after the appeals process has been exhausted.
An IAAF spokeswoman said Keshmiri tested positive for the banned steroid methandienone in an out-of-competition test conducted on May 15 in the United States. If the IAAF upholds the positive test, Keshmiri probably will be banned for four years from the date the test was conducted.
Keshmiri, 23, threw 232 feet 5 inches on May 27 at Salinas, Calif., the longest discus throw in the world this year. A three-time NCAA champion, he won the U.S. trials on June 22 and was notified by TAC he had tested positive June 24.
Keshmiri says he is innocent but doubts that he will compete in Barcelona. He added that the toxicologist who witnessed the test said the sample proved negative.
Keshmiri's lawyer, Bob Duplantis, said the sample in question was taken on May 15 and sent to a laboratory in Montreal after Keshmiri was told it would be delivered to TAC's headquarters in Indianapolis.
The Gazette-Journal of Reno, Nev., said Duplantis issued a statement saying the toxicologist who witnessed the testing, Dr. S.C. Chan of Calgary, said standard operating procedures were not followed. Chan said that, contrary to TAC policy, both the A and B samples were tested by the same technician.
Keshmiri seemed to be taking the matter philosophically.
Joe Keshmiri said he talked to his son Tuesday morning and "he said, 'Dad, every day I'm looking at life brighter and brighter. I believe you when you said there's a life after discus, without discus and also there is a life without the Olympics.' "
A member of South Africa's Olympic table tennis team tested positive for a banned stimulant and will not go to the Games, officials said.
Cheryl Roberts was tested May 31 and the results were received two weeks ago, said Errol Vawda, South African Table Tennis Board president.
The national Olympic committee did not say if Roberts will be replaced on the team, South Africa's first Olympic contingent in 32 years.
Roberts' dismissal is the latest in a series of doping cases among South African athletes since the nation returned to the international sports scene last year.
At least two rugby players tested positive for banned substances in June, then were cleared of wrongdoing by national rugby officials after claiming they took the drugs unintentionally.
Javelin thrower Tom Petranoff and high-jumper Charmaine Weavers tested positive for banned drugs in 1989 and 1990, but no action was taken against them, an Amateur Athletic Union document leaked to newspapers showed.
Chris Hattingh, chairman of a committee investigating drug use in athletics, said both athletes were drug-free in follow-up tests and remained eligible for the Olympics.
The attention lavished upon the U.S. basketball team has the NHL thinking about letting its players take part in the Olympics.
Allowing superstars such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull to represent Canada and the United States in the Winter Olympics could help the league attract a U.S. network television contract, acting NHL President Gil Stein said Tuesday.
"We need to look at every way we can to introduce people to our stars," he said. "A great opportunity out there is the Olympics."
Hockey Canada chairman Ian Macdonald and Baaron Pittenger, executive director of USA Hockey, both expressed reservations about the idea.
Macdonald said Canada's silver medal at this year's Olympics shows the success of the national team program, which is built around collegians, journeyman pros and a few young prospects.
Pittenger agreed that all-star NHL teams representing Canada and the United States would create excitement at the Olympics. But he also noted that the American team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Games didn't have NHL players.