Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
UK Athletics has announced that ‘former coach George Skafidas has been provisionally suspended from participating in athletics after being charged with having committed anti-doping rule violations.’ In a press release on Monday, the governing body for athletics in the UK said that the provisional suspension issued by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and in accordance with IAAF Anti-Doping Rules, came in to immediate effect on 23 November 2015.
UK Athletics further said that Skafidas now has ‘the opportunity to respond to the charges against him including the right to a full hearing of the case.’ Skafidas is the former coach of Bernice Wilson, a former GB sprinter who received a 4-year suspension in June 2011 after a positive drugs test.
According to Athletics Weekly, ‘when Wilson was asked at a UKAD hearing to state any substances that might have led to the adverse finding, she mentioned a “multi-vitamin” drink provided by Skafidas.’ Skafidas in fact represented Wilson at her hearing before the National Anti-Doping Panel in September 2011, something which the investigating panel reportedly flagged as a potential for a conflict of interest. However, after an adjournment in proceedings, both Wilson and Skafidas reportedly clarified that it was ‘no part of her defence or mitigation to suggest the drink as a possible source of the illegal substances.’
• The media release was originally published on the UK Athletics internet site on 23 November 2015. You can access the original by clicking here.