Former 400m world record holder, Lee Evans could be heading for the courts to clear his name of dope charges after he was slammed for four years by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN.
An AFN medical and doping committee hearing found Evans, who has been coaching in Nigeria for close to four years, culpable in the testing positive to steroids of a junior female athlete during the African Youth Championships in Warri, Delta State. Another coach Abass Rauf was banned for life.
But Evans has been seething with anger and despair as he felt his hard earned reputation in athletics has been tarnished by the AFN who he believes, did not give him a fair hearing and impulsively hammered him with the four-year ban.
â€œLee is very angry and he is considering going to court to clear his name. He is of the view that he was not given a proper hearing,â€ said Lagos state coach, Adu Uruemu.
Lee who previously had a coaching stint in Nigeria in the early 80â€™s was brought back to Nigeria in 2008 by the AFN with an aim of making him head coach, but that move was suffocated by intrigues of various interests at the AFN and the National Sports Commission. Cross River State signed him up, but in 2012 he left Calabar in a hurry, claiming that it was a small town and he needed to work in Lagos, where there is more life and money.
A member of the AFN who pleaded anonymity, because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, stated that coach Lee who reportedly admitted giving a food supplement to the young athlete, was given a fair hearing and was accordingly sanctioned.
â€œDue process was followed. He was given a fair hearing, by the AFN and based on our findings, we made our report and he was rightly sanctioned.
â€œThe young girl who tested positive mentioned his name. And he was invited to the hearing and he stated his side of the story. Lee is free to go the Court of Arbitration for Sports if he is aggrieved by the out come of the hearing,â€ said athletics official.
Commenting on the issue, Bruce Ijirigho, who recruited coach Lee for the Cross River grassroots development programme, lamented that it was unfortunate that his one time pal found himself in the dope mess.
â€œIf you give any supplement that is bound to enhance the performance of any athlete that is doping. It does not matter whether they are on the banned list or not.
â€œIt is rather unfortunate Lee found himself in this kind of mess.â€ Ijirigho stated.
It was gathered that the athletics officials have for long kept watch on athletes coached by the former American-born track star. This was with the suspicion that there was something behind their high performance in local meets.