AP NEWS

French marathon runner Calvin suspended in doping case

April 10, 2019
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Silver medalist in the women's marathon at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin, France's Clemence Calvin reacts as she adresses reporters during a media conference in Paris Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Calvin has been accused of dodging a drug test in Morocco last month. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — European marathon silver medalist Clemence Calvin was provisionally suspended by the French anti-doping agency on Wednesday for allegedly obstructing a doping test last month in Morocco.

Calvin denies any wrongdoing and claims she was brutalized by testers who pretended to be police officers when she was briefly stopped in the city of Marrakech on March 27.

Calvin, who did not get tested after the altercation, has filed a lawsuit in Morocco against the testers for violence and threats.

The French anti-doping agency’s secretary general, Mathieu Teoran, denied Calvin’s allegations that the agents were violent and did not identify themselves as sample collectors.

Calvin was in Morocco with her husband — the athlete Samir Dahmani — to train for this Sunday’s Paris Marathon. Her lawyers said they will ask the Council of State — France’s highest administrative court — for an urgent ruling to have the ban lifted.

“It’s been 12 years that I have been a top-level athlete,” Calvin said during the news conference. “I never had any problem with the AFLD. What I went through on March 27 was everything but a test. It was very violent.”

The 28-year-old athlete, who finished second in the marathon at the 2018 European championships in Berlin, said she had just retrieved her son at the kindergarten when the incident happened.

“We had a walk in the neighborhood, my husband went to buy a cake for my son’s birthday,” she said. “I was in the street, playing with kids. Some people arrived and took me by the arm, saying: ‘French police, where is Dahmani?’”

According to Calvin, she led them to Dahmani and one of the three persons hit her on the arm as she was handing her 2-year-old child over to her husband.

“My little one fell on the floor and started to cry,” she said. “My husband started to argue with these people while I stepped back.”

Calvin said the family then went to a pharmacy to have their son checked and went back to their place around midnight after dinner. She insisted that the people who stopped her in the street never identified themselves as testers.

Lawyer Arnaud Pericard said Calvin — in addition to the obstruction that led to her provisional suspension — was also notified by the AFLD of a “no-show” for missing a doping test at her place after 8 p.m. the same day. Pericard said he has gathered testimonies from Calvin’s neighbors in Marrakech that people presenting themselves as French police officers knocked on their doors in the evening as they tried to locate the couple.

Under the whereabouts rules, athletes must make themselves available for out-of-competition testing for one hour every day and face suspensions if they miss three tests over a period of 12 months.

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