By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Tong WenFebruary 23 - China's Olympic judo champion Tong Wen has overturned a ban for doping with clenbuterol on a technicality and will regain her world title she had won at Rotterdam in 2009 when she beat Britain's Karina Bryant in the final.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the judoka's appealagainst a two-year suspension imposed by the International Judo Federation (IJF).

CAS cited a "procedural failure" by the lab.

Tong tested positive for the muscle-building, fat-burning drug after winning the over 78-kilogram category at the 2009 World Championships in Rotterdam.

Tong, upon the advice of the Chinese Judo Association, withdrew her request to have the B sample tested. 

But the world governing body nevertheless later ordered tests on her backup sample - which also had clenbuterol traces - without telling her or giving her the chance to attend.

CAS said her Rottenham results are reinstated and she retains the gold medal, which the IJF had decided would have remained vacant and controversially not awarded to Bryant.

"The CAS Panel noted that the athlete was not given the opportunity to be present herself and/orby her representative for the opening and testing of the B sample," said the panel headed by Ireland's Ercus Stewart.

"The CAS Panel recognisedthat the right of the athlete to be present applies whenever the B sample is analysed, irrespectiveof who asks for it.

"Considering that the B sample analytical results could not validly confirm the A sample analytical results, the CAS Panel stated that 'no doping violation has been establishedpursuant to Article 2.1.2 of the 2009 IJF Anti-doping Regulations'."

The decision also means that 28-year-old Tong, who also won the World Championship title in 2003, 2005 and 2007, will be able to defend her Olympic title at London next year.

Tong's ban had been due to end in September 2011 but she would still have missed London 2012 under a International Olympic Committee (IOC) rule that prevents anyone competing in the Games who has tested positive since the last Olympics.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
May 2010: Exclusive - British Judo frustrated Byrant will not be awarded gold medal after Chinese cheat disqualifed
May 2010: Chinese Olympic gold medallist banned for two years for doping