Olympian Nigel Levine receives four year doping ban

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Stock track Alexander Stadium. Birmingham Grand Prix 2015. Photo: NS53 via Flickr.

European champion and 400m runner Nigel Levine has been banned for four years by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) after a test sample was found to contain a banned substance.

In handing down the punishment, the body’s Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead said athletes are “solely responsible” for what is found in their system.

Levine was a member of the quartet that won European gold in the 4x400m relay at Zurich 2014. He was also part of Team GB at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The 29-year-old hasn’t competed since being injured in a road accident alongside fellow sprinter James Ellington in January 2017.

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UKAD says a test in November 2017 found clenbuterol, which is an anabolic agent that can help muscles relax and metabolise faster.

Although not a steroid, it is said to have “some properties similar to those of anabolic steroids, such as promoting an increase in muscle mass”. It can be used by some asthma sufferers to make breathing easier.

The runner, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, was provisionally suspended in February and given the opportunity to respond to the charge including a full hearing of his case.

Nicole Sapstead is clear that the athlete in question should hold responsibility. She said “Mr Levine is an elite athlete, who has competed at the Olympic Games, European and World Championships, and has received significant anti-doping education throughout his career.

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Under the terms of the ban, he won’t be able to compete in any sport until December 2021.

Levine told UKAD that he believed he’d unintentionally ingested the anabolic drug inside contaminated supplements.

He can still appeal against the ruling.