June 4, 2015
Allan Wells: Did this Scottish champion cheat his way to greatness?
SCOTS athletics legend Allan Wells was last night accused of being a serial doper who cheated his way to glory. A BBC documentary claimed the former Olympic 100metres champion was on anabolic steroids throughout his golden years in the 1970s and 80s. And it was alleged that the Great Britain team doctor at the time, Jimmy Ledingham, supplied the sprinter with the steroids. The BBC’s sources behind the claims include Wells’s former team-mate Drew McMaster, who orchestrated his own investigation to expose alleged cheating 30 years ago. Wells has furiously denied the “shocking slur” made in BBC Scotland Investigations and Panorama’s Catch Me If You Can probe by journalist Mark Daly. He said last night: “I could never have taken drugs. I just could not have lived with myself.” But the Beeb and Daly – a former Daily Record reporter – stand by their multiple sources. McMaster secretly recorded exchanges with Ledingham, who allegedly supplied the anabolic steroids Stromba or stanozalol to Wells over six years. The documentary also includes hard-hitting allegations against Alberto Salazar – coach of current GB track star Mo Farah – and his training methods. Daly proves how easy it is to get around supposedly stringent anti-doping controls by going on an extensive doping programme himself, bringing his performance to a level that far exceeded anything he could have done through training alone. In the years since his Olympic heroics in Moscow in 1980, Edinburgh runner Wells, now 63, has been an outspoken critic of drug cheats, calling for lifetime bans. The BBC documentary claims Ledingham – the British Olympics men’s team doctor from 1979 to 1987 – was involved in systematic doping. McMaster, who won Commonwealth gold in 4x100m relay alongside Wells within the famous flying Scotsmen quartet, recorded the doctor allegedly discussing his drugs programme. In one transcript, ex-Edinburgh GP Ledingham, who died in 1998, gave McMaster his reasons for doping athletes. He said: “What I was doing it for was that I knew bloody well that the bloke standing next to you on the blocks was taking the stuff.” He was then asked if Wells was also getting his steroids or “stuff” from him. Ledingham said: “He [Wells] was taking stuff from all over the place, not just from me… everybody knew Wells took drugs.” Ledingham claimed he’d never speak on the record about Wells or any of the other “half a dozen or so I’ve known to have taken things”. McMaster, who admitted taking steroids in 1995 after years of denials, told the BBC that athletes were coming from all over the UK to Ledingham’s surgery and said Wells was also a regular visitor. McMaster said as well as specifically telling him that he was supplying Wells with steroids, Ledingham also talked to him about drug testing procedures and how to avoid a positive test. The BBC show also featured an athletics source who questioned the way Wells apparently bulked up from an unremarkable long jumper in 1976 to one of the most powerful sprinters in the world within two years. He said: “I saw that Wells had this really big improvement in his performance. He suddenly started to run around six seconds dead for the 60 yards. Can an athlete go from 11st 7 to 14st and put on that build naturally? Not at that age. Not in my experience.” Wells did not speak to the BBC but a legal spokesman for the track icon said: “It is denied that any drugs were provided by Dr Jimmy Ledingham. “It is not true our client had used any banned performance drugs… at any time in his athletics career.” And last night, Wells added: “Once again I find myself having to publicly deny these false and malicious rumours about doping. “It’s been unexpected and has been difficult to deal with. It’s frustrating. If I didn’t defend myself, it could severely damage my reputation. “These allegations go back more than 20 years and have resurfaced at regular intervals. I strenuously denied any involvement in doping at the time and I will continue to do so. “I can look back with substantial pride on my achievements.” Wells has previously attacked McMaster for speaking publicly about drugs, saying: “The truth is, McMaster turned to steroids because I started beating him – and I was not using drugs.” As well as his gold, Wells won silver in the 200m at the Moscow Olympics. He was 100m World Cup champion in 1981 and also landed four Commonwealth gold medals. He acted as an ambassador for last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and also given the honour of being the first carrier of the Queen’s baton. LEADING coach Alberto Salazar is accused in the BBC probe of violating anti-doping rules by using testosterone to boost the performance of athletes. He denies the allegations, claiming use of a legal nutritional supplement called “Testoboost” had been incorrectly recorded as testosterone in documents obtained by the programme makers. British Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah is coached by US-based Salazar but there is NO suggestion in the programme that the long-distance runner had used banned substances. He told the BBC: “I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance.” He said from his experience, the rules had always been “strictly followed”. Salazar is a US athletics legend, who won the New York marathon three years in a row and ran himself unconscious in winning the Boston marathon in 1982. He is now one of the world’s most successful coaches. He told the BBC the “allegations your sources are making are based upon false assumptions and half-truths in an attempt to further their personal agendas”. The programme also reveals issues with current procedures for drug testing, with reporter Mark Daly embarking on a 14-week experiment using drugs which went undetected. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/golden-boy-allan-wells-drug-5819050