Randy Barnes, world record holder in the shot put, tested positive for drugs at a meet in Sweden in August, the French sports newspaper L'Equipe says.

"I have never been notified of anything," Barnes said from his home near Charleston, W.Va. "I have a hard time taking this seriously until I've talked to someone officially." He said he had been tested at the meet but didn't know the results.

L'Equipe said the first analysis was at a lab in Stockholm. Then came a second test, results of which will be known within 15 days. If it is positive, Barnes likely would be barred from competition for two years.

U.S. and international track officials said they couldn't confirm the report.

L'Equipe said Barnes tested positive at the Aug. 7 meet in Malmo . He won there with a put of 74 feet 11 1/4 inches; he set the record of 75-10 1/4 on May 20 in California, and TAC says he tested clean. . . .

Sprinter Ben Johnson, declaring himself fit and clean, confirms he'll begin his comeback in January from a two-year suspension for steroid use.

"I want to take back the titles and the records I have been deprived of," Johnson said in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy.

The Toronto athlete said his first meet would be in Hamilton, Ontario, Jan. 11. He plans to run the 50 meters in that meet, and make at least 13 indoor appearances this winter.

Johnson was stripped of the Olympic 100-meter title and of the world record after testing positive for steroids at Seoul in September 1988. His suspension expires Sept. 24. . . .

Representatives from the black African states are to meet next month to discuss readmitting South Africa to the world of international athletics.