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Jones soundly beaten in Holland

29 May 2005

Former Olympic champion Marion Jones was well beaten over 100m as she returned to the European track in the Thales-FBK Games IAAF Grand Prix.

The organisers at Hengelo, in Holland, ignored Euro Meetings Group's decision to shun the American because of links to the Balco doping scandal.

And Jones recorded 11.29 seconds to finish a long way behind Bahamas star Chandra Sturrup, who clocked 11.15secs.

London athlete Joice Maduaka was in third spot in a time of 11.46secs.

"There's no reason to stop Marion Jones from participating in the FBK Games," meet director Fedde Zwanenburg had said before the weekend.

The Euro Meetings Group represents many of Europe's top athletics events, including the FBK Games, but Jones' participation weakens the credibility of its decision.

Zwanenburg said FBK Games officials had "granted her request to compete in the 100m race and had also reached a financial agreement with her.

"No punishment can or should be given before the rules in question have actually been shown to have been broken."

The Balco scandal has rocked American sport, with founder Victor Conte accused of supplying steroids.

He also claims he gave Jones performance-enhancing drugs.

British promoters Fast Track confirmed the pair would not compete in Britain, a spokesman saying: "There's no presumption of guilt but they carry far too much baggage."

Jones and boyfriend Tim Montgomery have both been active on the American circuit, with Jones winning her first race of the season in the Caribbean.

But Montgomery, who holds the world record for the 100m, has been charged by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) with serious doping violations.

USADA has built its cases on verbal evidence given to the federal investigation into Balco rather than test results - neither Jones or Montgomery has ever failed a drugs test.

Jones, who won five medals at the 2000 Olympics, has launched a defamation lawsuit against Conte.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said meeting promoters were free to invite anyone they wished to their competitions.

"She (Jones) can run anywhere but it is up to the promoters," he said.

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