Olympic champion Merritt suspended for 21 months

Raleigh: US Olympic 400 metres champion LaShawn Merritt has been suspended through July 2011 after testing positive for a banned substance found in a male enhancement product, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said Monday.

The Beijing Olympic gold medallist had three samples test positive for prohibited testosterone prohormones, the anti-doping agency said in a statement.

He was suspended for 21 months, beginning October 28, 2009, the date of his first sample.

Merritt had accepted in April a provisional suspension "as a result of positive drug tests caused by his use of an over-the-counter male enhancement product," the American athlete`s attorney Howard Jacobs said in a statement at the time.

The statement said Merritt had used the over-the-counter product, which contained DHEA and pregnenolone, following the 2009 season.

Neither Merritt nor Jacobs were immediately available for comment.

Bureau Report

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