Wells blasts drug cheat claims

Former Olympic champion Alan Wells. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
Former Olympic champion Alan Wells. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
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OLYMPIC hero Allan Wells says being branded a drugs cheat is like being falsely accused of sex crimes.

The former 100m star and 1980 Moscow gold medallist says he watched the BBC Panorama programme, in which the claims were made, in “utter disbelief”.

He said the allegations had left him feeling like he’d been falsely named and shamed in the same way as Operation Yewtree targeted comedian Jimmy Tarbuck.

And he fears the claims will tarnish his high-profile sprinting coach wife Margot – as well as the reputation of other sportsmen he coached.

Wells, from the Capital, said support of his friends and family had got him through and stopped him dwelling on the career-destroying allegations.

The 63-year-old said: “I understand now what someone like Jimmy Tarbuck went through. I’m dealing with it one day at a time and, with my family’s support, I’ll get through it.”

The documentary accused Wells of being a serial doper throughout the golden years of his career in the 1970s and 80s.

It also went on to detail allegations the Capital-based GB team doctor at the time, Jimmy Ledingham, supplied him with steroids that helped him secure gold.

Many of the claims came from Wells’s former teammate, Drew McMaster.

McMaster, of Ormiston, East Lothian, said he was approached by the BBC around a year ago and was interviewed by them for six hours.

He added: “I’ve been waiting 30 years for this. Nothing has changed.”

But despite the attack on his credibility, Wells said he bears no grudges.

He said: “What’s the point in being bitter and angry with him? I’ve no idea what’s motivated him to speak out, and to be honest I’ve not really got any feelings for him at all.

“I can’t control how history will judge me. This has been disappointing, a very difficult episode to cope with. But, Margot and I will stay strong.”

After Panorama aired, a lawyer acting for Wells lodged a formal complaint.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We are happy not to include a response in this case.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com