| Kelli may still lose her Paris medals
Paris: American sprinter Kelli White, competing under a cloud of doping charges, is likely to join around 30 world champions and 250 other athletes at the inaugural World Athletics Final this weekend in Monaco.
Despite testing positive for a minor stimulant at the world championships in Paris last month, “Kelli White is qualified to compete and we expect her to do so, at least in the 100m,” IAAF spokesman Nick Davis said.
White tested positive for modafinil after winning the 100m in Paris on August 24. She set a personal best time in that race and in the winning the 200m four days later. Modafinil is classified by athletics’ governing body as a minor stimulant which does not warrant suspension.
White says she took the drug to treat a sleep-related disorder called narcolepsy, but her doctor’s explanation as to why she used it was rejected on Monday by the IAAF. It asked US track officials to begin disciplinary measures against her.
White will lose both her gold medals and receive a public warning if US officials determine she committed a doping offence.
The weekend meet at the Stade Louis II Stadium, also home to Monaco’s soccer team, is the season’s last before the men’s and women’s World Athlete of the Year are crowned.
Points gained over the weekend count toward overall rankings that decide the title winners. IAAF president Lamine Diack and Prince Albert of Monaco will award the winners’ prizes of $100,000 on Sunday night. Second-placed athletes receive $50,000, with $25,000 for third.
World heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft of Sweden narrowly leads the overall women’s rankings, two points ahead of South Africa’s world high jump winner Hestrie Cloete.
White is third and set to race the 100 on Sunday. She won the 100 in 10.87 seconds at the Golden League meet in Brussels, Belgium, last Friday. Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj heads men’s standings from Ethiopia’s 10,000m Kenenisa Bekele.
Qatar’s Saif Saeed Shaheen, the former Kenyan runner known as Stephen Cherono and winner of the world 3,000 steeplechase for his adopted country, is third. The first of 33 track and field events begins on Saturday with the women’s triple jump. Competition ends on Sunday with the men’s 3,000 steeplechase.
Other big names expected on the French Riviera include Mozambique’s 800m star Maria Mutola, who last Friday became the first winner of the $1 million IAAF Golden League jackpot — awarded to athletes winning every Golden League track meet of the season in a single category.
Mutola has 17 straight wins at 800m this year and clinched both the world indoor and outdoor titles. Her unbroken 2003 Golden League triumphs came in Oslo, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Zurich and Brussels.
World champion Kim Collins will look to repeat his 100m triumph but faces a strong threat from world record holder Tim Montgomery and European record holder Dwain Chambers. (AP)