Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Wells denies doping allegations

Olympic sprint champion Allan Wells has denied allegations that he was a drugs cheat.

Wells won the Olympic 100m final at the Moscow 1980 Games and four Commonwealth gold medals during his career.

Allegations that he used performance-enhancing steroids have now been made in a BBC Panorama programme, titled Catch Me If You Can, broadcast tonight.

The claims, centring around former Great Britain team doctor Jimmy Ledingham, were made to the BBC by Wells' former sprint team mate, Drew McMaster.

McMaster, who admitted taking steroids in 1995, alleged that Dr Ledingham had told him that he was supplying Wells with steroids, and discussed how to avoid a positive test.

News of the allegations first emerged last week and Wells said: "I could never have taken drugs. I just could not have lived with myself.

"Once again I find myself having to publicly deny these false and malicious rumours about doping. It's been unexpected and has been difficult to deal with. It's frustrating. If I didn't defend myself it could severely damage my reputation.

"These allegations go back more than 20 years and have resurfaced at regular intervals. I strenuously denied any involvement in doping at the time and I will continue to do so. I can look back with substantial pride on my achievements."

Top distance running coach, Alberto Salazar, also features in doping allegations in the BBC investigation.

Speaking after the broadcast, Allan Wells's legal adviser Professor Peter Watson said the programme was based on "gossip and hearsay".

"Panorama failed to produce a single eye witness who had ever seen Allan Wells take illegal substances and as for the dramatic development in Allan's physique, it is well known that he took on a punishing training regime which would increase any athlete's build and weight," Prof Watson said.

"Mr McMaster's bitterness permeated this entire programme and it is a sad tale he has tried to sell for decades, presumably to mask his own inadequacies. His jealousy towards Allan Wells is deeply troubling and is to be pitied.

"The BBC were challenged to produce their evidence so it could be considered and commented on. They refused. Why? This was drama not documentary.

"Allan Wells only comment to me after the programme was 'McMaster is a loser'."


From Belfast Telegraph