Royal Pigeon Racing Association bans racers on cocaine doping charges

A team of carrier pigeons are under investigation after allegedly feeding birds cocaine to make them fly faster.

Staffordshire riders Ricky McGraw, 37, Kierren Clegg, 36, and Malcolm Preece, 56, were suspended by the Royal Pigeon Racing Association this week after a winning streak.

Their birds’ droppings tested positive for the Class A drug, but they vigorously denied the doping claims and appealed the decision to ban them.

Under investigation: Staffordshire riders Ricky McGraw (right), 37, Kierren Clegg (left), 36, and Malcolm Preece, 56, were suspended by the Royal Pigeon Racing Association this week

They claim that their pigeons’ samples were contaminated because they were taken from a pub where races start and end.

Kierren Clegg told Sun: ‘I didn’t even know cocaine helped birds.

“They tested it in a pub. You talk about cross contamination. They should have tested in the loft we share.

Malcolm’s son Craig, 30, added: “My dad had nothing to do with it. Pigeon races normally start and end in a pub. They test the bird’s poo, but it doesn’t. should not be done in a pub.

But RPRA president Les Blacklock dismissed claims that the sample was contaminated, adding that it was the only one in 80 to come back positive.

Kierren Clegg has denied the allegations, saying the pigeons' samples were contaminated because they were taken from a pub.

Kierren Clegg has denied the allegations, saying the pigeons’ samples were contaminated because they were taken from a pub.

In a 2010 study, it was discovered that pigeons fly faster when cocaine is inserted into their grain.

If found guilty of feeding the birds the Class A drug, runners could be given a three-year ban.

It is the latest scandal to rock the pigeon world after Britain’s top pigeon fancier admitted to cheating in July.

Eamon Kelly, 52, was the title holder of the National de Tarbes, hailed as the most coveted title in pigeon racing.

But he may now have to leave the sport in disgrace after his deception comes to light.

Disgraced: Britain's top pigeon fancier Eamon Kelly faces a lifetime ban from the sport after being exposed as having cheated to claim the coveted Tarbes National top spot

Disgraced: Britain’s top pigeon fancier Eamon Kelly faces a lifetime ban from the sport after being exposed as having cheated to claim the coveted Tarbes National top spot

He claimed that his pigeon first returned to Great Britain from Tarbes in the south of France by recording a catch-up time using the electronic tag system.

But in reality, his bird had never left his loft in Didcot.

HOW DID THE PIGEON-RACING CHEAT EAMON KELLY?

  • Eamon Kelly registered 14 pigeons in the hotly contested Tarbes National
  • He sent a second team of birds to the south of France by truck with 2,200 other competitors
  • As the second team made the 580 mile return trip, the first team were happy in their loft in Didcot, Oxfordshire
  • He estimated a likely winning time and registered one of his birds as having returned home using the electronic tag system.
  • His winning bird would have made the trip at an average of 40 mph
  • But the race organizers grew suspicious when they realized other birds, flying at an average of 39 mph, were far from home.

The fancier had entered 14 pigeons in the race and kept them in his loft while sending a different set to France with the other competitors.

As the second set began its journey across the Channel, Mr Kelly calculated a likely winning time.

He then took a bird from his loft and recorded it as having returned using a microchip tag on his body.

In a statement, he said: “I, Eamon Kelly, sincerely apologize to all my friends and fans for my stupid actions regarding the recent Tarbes race.

“I was tempted and fell, a decision I will regret for the rest of my life. A sport that I love so much, which gave me incredible pleasure and above all a friendship which I ruined everything. ‘


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