'Unstable urine' doesn't answer doping case

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:16 PM ET

It's been more than six years since Londoner Kelly Guest tested positive for nandrolone.

Guest has since continually denied knowingly violating doping regulations. And he hasn't stopped trying to clear his name.

While the doping violation remains affixed to his history, recent advances in the study of nandrolone give credence to Guest's claim he did nothing wrong.

In 2002, Guest was a 25-year-old triathlete, the No. 2-ranked male triathlete in Canada. He was ranked only behind Simon Whitfield.

Just before the start of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Guest was sent home after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone. He tested for 3.06 nanograms, with adjustments he was a half-nanogram gram over the acceptable level.

He was suspended for two years and he and his family have never stopped working to prove his positive test had nothing to do with cheating, that the slight elevation of Guest's nandrolone level was due to something else.

"We can't get back the two years Kelly lost, but we want people to know that Kelly didn't cheat," said Ross Guest, Kelly's father who lives in Victoria. "In fact, he may not have had a positive test at all."

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports threw Guest a lifeline recently and while the end result was not what Guest wanted, it further supported Guest's claim that he didn't dope.

It was not everything the Guests had hoped for. The more research that is done, the more likely it is that Kelly Guest is telling the truth.

Guest lives in Victoria and he has family members, including his mother, and friends in London.

"In Canada, you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty," Kelly Guest said. "That doesn't mean possibly guilty it means actually guilty beyond a doubt.

"I'm not looking for money. I'm not looking for anything except to clear my name."

In a letter to Guest in July, the CCES asked for permission to retest Guest's B urine sample that had been frozen since 2006.

"I do not want to raise any undue expectations but there is a possibility that application of this research to your case could show that your low-level nandrolone finding was not due to doping," said the letter signed by Paul Melia, president and CEO of the CCES. "It is not certain that such a determination can be made or made conclusively but from a scientific point-of-view the chance is there."

The letter explains more research done after Guest's positive test may indicate that "for some rare cases involving 'active' or 'unstable urine', low-level nandrolone positives close to the threshold up to now treated as positive tests might not be the result of anti-doping rule violations. The nandrolone metabolites found in such samples may be the result of chemical processes in the samples and not involve the ingestion of prohibited substances," and that further testing would be needed.

Further testing proved inconclusive so the CCES wouldn't overturn the initial finding even though Guest's positive test was barely over the allowable limit. Subsequent research indicates there could be other reasons for the positive test.

Since the CCES began testing, and as early as 1991, there have been 20 Canadian positive tests for nandrolone and only one since 2001.

"(Guest's) is the only Canadian case that possibly indicates the characteristics of 'unstable urine,'" the CCES wrote.

This is hardly a clear case of doping.

"The CCES admits it is possible that I didn't even test positive in that it may have been a mistake, a false positive," Guest said. "But they won't expunge my record. They are inventing a new form of justice where possibly guilty is good enough. That's all wrong. Why don't they just do the right thing?"

A second letter was sent by the CCES to Ross Guest after a recent testing of Kelly's urine sample.

"Yes, 'active urine' might explain the nandrolone in Kelly's sample but we have no proof whatsoever that it does so in this case," according to the letter. "We worked very hard and took great care to secure the evidence we needed but in the end the remnant urine sample proved to be too small to complete the required analysis."

None of the problems on nandrolone were mentioned at Guest's 2003 arbitration hearing. The arbitrator ruled that Kelly didn't intentionally intend to cheat.

The report stated that the test was infallible.

It appears that isn't the case.

Kelly Guest still competes. At 30, he was named the 2007 Triathalon Canada Off-Road male elite athlete of the year. He operates a triathlon school for 20 kids between the ages of 11 and 15.

"I'm flabbergasted they won't clear my name," Guest said.


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