Javelin thrower banned over drugs offences

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AN athlete has been banned from competing for four years for possession of banned substances.

UK Athletics bosses were alerted after police raided the East Durham home of javelin thrower Ian Burns, 35.

Now the National Anti-Doping Panel has found him guilty of possession of substances including stanozolol, testosterone and human growth hormone.

As well as a ban, which will run until May 2016, the panel ordered any results obtained by Burns from September 2010 up until the start of his initial suspension in August 2011 are disqualified.

The self-employed personal trainer and coach competed for many years for Gateshead Harriers, including in the British Athletics League.

When police visited his home in Fairbairn Road, Peterlee, Burns – who has said he plans to continue to coach others – showed officers where some of the drugs were.

He said he had bought some online and others while on a diving holiday to Egypt.

The 35-year-old went on to tell athletics anti-doping investigators that he was “just looking after them for a friend,” but was under pressure by the police and said they were his to get the matter over and done with.

He also said he was frightened about what would happen if his friend was implicated with police and feared for the safety of his family.

However, the panel found that Burns’s claims that the drugs belonged to someone else were lies.

Durham Police did not prosecute him because he said the drugs, found in September 2011, were for his own use.

UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson said: “Possession of banned substances is a serious offence, particularly in light of the fact that Mr Burns acts as a coach and personal trainer, reflected by the length of ban the independent panel chose to hand down.”

He added: “This case reiterates the fact that the rules of doping are not confined to testing, and that we will continue to work with partners to ensure that clean athletes are protected.”

Burns told police he last used the drugs in August 2011 for “injury prevention” and for strength, rather than to bulk up, detailing how he said he injected growth hormone and peptide into his stomach.

He also told police the gyms he used did not know he was using their equipment to train clients, so he did not have to pay the business owners a share, but that he worked out alongside his customers and taught them what to do.

The panel’s report added: “The respondent does not dispute that the substances he purchased and used are prohibited at all times from use in sport.

“Indeed, he was well aware of the fact, which appears to be why he tried the police to not mention his use of them in interview, for fear of wrecking his athletics career.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham