Former UK Athletics coach handed lifetime ban

Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:06pm EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Former UK Athletics coach George Skafidas has been handed a lifetime ban from sport for doping offences relating to sprinter Bernice Wilson, Britain's anti-doping agency said on Wednesday.

Wilson was banned for four years in 2011 after she tested positive for testosterone and clenbuterol.

UKAD said in a statement that the Greek coach had admitted to nine rule violations, committed in 2011 and in January and February 2015 before Wilson's return to the sport.

Wilson tested positive for clomiphene in an out-of-competition test in February last year but her sanction was reduced to 10 months due to "the substantial assistance" she gave UKAD.

The agency said Skafidas had concealed a Notice of Charge sent to Wilson by UKAD and "knowingly provided a false account to UKAD during his interview in Greece on 10 June 2015."

A profile of Skafidas on the British Athletics Power of 10 website says the Greek was "credited from many in his country for the golden era of sports such as athletics, weightlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, football basketball, volleyball etc in 1990s–2000s."

Skafidas moved to England after the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"Here is a coach who set-up and ran a training group for young and talented athletes; athletes like Bernice who had a bright and promising future in the sport," said UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead.

"He was put into a position of trust, he abused that trust and as a result categorically destroyed a career."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)