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Jones should keep medals - Conte

8 October 2007

Balco founder Victor Conte says Marion Jones should not be stripped of her medals won at the Sydney Olympics.

Jones, 31, has pleaded guilty to lying about her steroid use to investigators and also announced her retirement.

Conte served four months in jail for steroid distribution and his company is accused of developing the steroid THG.

He told BBC 5live's Sportsweek: "She shouldn't have her medals taken away but the anti-doping procedures are basically inept."

Conte added: "They are very easy to beat and there are many Olympic records and world records and Olympic gold medals that have been won that, in my opinion, were clearly won by athletes who were using performance-enhancing substances."

Jones made her tearful declaration outside court on Saturday after admitting lying to federal investigators about her use of THG in 2003.

She is facing a six-month prison sentence and could be stripped of the five medals - three of them gold - she won at the 2000 Games.

Jones had repeatedly denied using drugs, but Conte claims he knew from personal experience that she did.

He lost a defamation lawsuit and settled out of court with Jones after claiming she took banned substances in 2006.

He said: "There was one point when I did meet in person with her and provided her with a growth hormone injector and instructed her how to use it.

"She did the injection in the quadriceps with me sitting right there next to her.

"I have seen her use drugs in my presence.

"There is a lesson to be learnt. Athletes are not gods, they are human beings and they make mistakes just like everybody else in society.

"Marion is not a bad person - she is a good person who made some very poor choices and she and her family will now have to suffer the consequences of her bad decisions."

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