Dennis Mitchell, one of the world's best sprinters, received a two-year ban yesterday for a failed drug test but will be eligible to run in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Track and field's governing body said his drug test from 16 months ago showed high testosterone levels.

The International Amateur Athletics Federation arbitration panel ruled that Mitchell, the 100-meter bronze medalist in the 1992 Olympics and two-time bronze medalist at the world championships, had no right of appeal.

"This decision is final and binding," said IAAF spokesman Giorgio Reineri from the organization's headquarters in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Mitchell's lawyer maintained on Tuesday that the 33-year-old sprinter had never taken testosterone or any other banned substance.

"He has always been against the use of drugs in track and field," lawyer Suja Thomas said from New York. "This is truly a severe disappointment to him."

Mitchell ran Monday in Malmo, Sweden, and could not be reached for comment. He will be ineligible from April 1, 1998, until March 31, 2000.

The retroactive ban began one day after the positive doping test and ends six months before the Sydney Olympics. Mitchell will miss the world championships this month in Seville, Spain.

"This is about Dennis Mitchell and he is an exemplary person, and secondarily he is an athlete," Thomas said. "He doesn't want this perception and he wants to compete. He should compete because he hasn't done anything wrong."

A three-member panel of USA Track and Field cleared Mitchell in December, but the IAAF arbitrators said that the USATF decision was "erroneous."