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Canadian Paralympic athlete Adams cleared of alleged anti-doping infraction

TORONTO - Canadian wheelchair racer Jeff Adams has won his battle against a two-year doping suspension, paving the way for a return to the track for the six-time world champion.


TORONTO - Canadian wheelchair racer Jeff Adams has won his battle against a two-year doping suspension, paving the way for a return to the track for the six-time world champion.

The Paralympic athlete from Brampton, Ont., was cleared of an alleged anti-doping infraction by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a unanimous decision Friday, his lawyer Tim Danson said in a statement Monday.

"In what can only be characterized as a total vindication," Danson said the three-judge panel concluded that there was no prohibited substance in Adams' system at the time of the competition or at the time he was drug tested.

Adams was suspended for two years for testing positive for cocaine at the 2006 Canadian wheelchair marathon championships in Ottawa in a peculiar case.

The four-time Paralympian filed an appeal with the CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, arguing the drug got into his system involuntarily claiming a woman in a Toronto bar shoved cocaine in his mouth and that he was the victim of a contaminated catheter.

"I hope this is going to be a case that shakes the drug testing world," Adams said at a news conference last June.

Adams had been eligible for reinstatement in August.

Adams scheduled a news conference Tuesday in Toronto where he planned to announce whether he'll attempt to qualify for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.

Adams testified in his initial arbitration hearing with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) that a woman at the Vatikan bar shoved fingers in his mouth on May 21, 2006, six days before the Ottawa race. He then used the same catheter he had used that night to provide a urine sample at the Ottawa marathon.

Adams' suspension also meant a loss of federal sport funding for life, and he has said his legal costs in fighting the case are into six figures.

Adams argued that the testing procedure discriminated against Paralympic athletes, since he was not provided with a sterile catheter.

Brian MacPherson, the Canadian Paralympic Committee's chief operating officer, said after Adams' suspension that he had never heard of a positive test from a contaminated catheter.

Adams has been a fierce crusader for wheelchair sports, and is one of the most recognizable Paralympians in the world with his shaved red hair and tattooed shoulders.

His suspension was a big blow to wheelchair racing. He blazed a trail for Canadian Paralympic sports, winning 13 Paralymic and six world championship medals for Canada. He's also a former world record holder in the 400 and 1,500 metres.

In 2002, he climbed the CN Tower's 1,776 stairs in a specially designed wheelchair to raise both awareness about the barriers facing people with disabilities, and funds for a national school outreach program.

 
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