Triple Olympic gold medallist Jones blasts Europe boycott bid

HENGELO (Holland): Triple Olympic gold medallist Marion Jones on Friday labelled as “ridiculous” efforts to ban her from competing in Europe this season.  

“My story hasn't changed,” Jones said in Hengelo, where she was to compete in an athletics meet today after organisers performed a U-turn on their previous decision to ban the US sprint star from European meets. 

“I'm not charged with anything. For there to be a so-called boycott, I think it's absolutely ridiculous.”  

Organisers of the Hengelo meet are to defy an Euro-Meetings Group decision to boycott Jones and men's 100m world record holder Tim Montgomery because of their alleged links to the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) scandal.  

Jones, who is due to run in the 100m, is also expected to run in Milan next Wednesday.  

“I should be invited to every meet,” Jones said. “It'll come down to the meets. If they want to have the best in the world, and they don't invite me, they'll be letting themselves down.  

“Training is going great,” Jones added. “I'm right where I need to be.”  

And organisers of the Hengelo meet have received the go ahead from athletics world governing body the IAAF to allow Jones to compete, meet coordinator Ellen van Langen said last week.  

Jones, a five-medal winner from the Sydney Olympics, had vowed to fight the decision taken on May 10 by the Euro-Meetings Group to boycott her from their meets this summer.  

BALCO founder Victor Conte, who is accused of supplying steroids, claims he gave Jones performance-enhancing drugs. Jones, who has never tested positive for drugs, has since launched a defamation lawsuit against Conte.  

The Hengelo meet had at first complied with the Euro-Meetings Group decision.  

But Van Langen said: “Since then we have reviewed our decision. It is difficult to boycott an athlete who has never been found guilty of doping.” – AFP 

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