By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

November 1 - A year's ban imposed on British shot putter Rachel Wallader after she tested positive for a prohibited drug, which would have prevented her from competing at the London 2012 Olympics, has been reduced to four months by the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP), it was announced today.

Wallader, 21, who is coached by former UK record holder Geoff Cape and is ranked fifth in Britain this year, was provisionally suspended in June after testing positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.

The Windsor athlete was initially banned for 12 months which, under the rule of the British Olympic Association (BOA), meant she would have been barred from ever competing in the Olympics.

That has now been reduced by the NADP, who are part of Sport Resolutions, an independent dispute resolution service for sport in the United Kingdom, offering arbitration, mediation and tribunal appointment and administration services, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reclassified the drug as a "Specified Substance" allowing for possible further reduced ban.

She will still have to appeal to the BOA to be able to compete at London 2012 but would almost certainly win as the length of her ban is less than six months.

The decision also gives hopes to several Nigerian athletes who tested positive for methylhexaneamine last month at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, including women's 100 metres winner Osayemi Oludamola, who was stripped of her gold medal as a result.

Nine unidentified athletes from Australia have also reportedly tested positive for the same substance.

Wallader is now free to compete again as the ban was backdated to June and it ended on October 4.

But Walter Nicholls, the lawyer who represented Wallader claimed that the case raised several serious questions.

"The inherent minefield for young athletes in taking supplements," he told insidethegames.

"I understand that this substance which is derived from geranium oil is found in some jams!

"What about the athlete who fancies a jam butty an hour or two before a competition?

"The guidance given by the Doping authorities requires re-visiting and revision."

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