Greek sprinters face ban

KOSTAS KENTERIS and Katerina Thanou face two-year drug suspensions after the International Association of Athletic Federations confirmed today they believed the duo have violated anti-doping rules.

The IAAF’s doping review board have refuted the Greek sprinters’ denials to charges brought at the beginning of the month that they missed out-of-competition drug tests.

They have also cited their coach, Christos Tzekos, who is accused of distributing and assisting in the use of prohibited substances and tampering with the doping control process.

The IAAF issued a statement last night which read: “In each case, the IAAF have concluded that the explanation provided is unacceptable in response to the charges made.

“Accordingly, the IAAF have notified the Greek Federation earlier this afternoon that both athletes and the coach are provisionally suspended pending the resolution of their cases.

“As provided under IAAF rules, a hearing for each individual will now be convened before the relevant disciplinary tribunal of the Greek Federation to determine whether doping violations have been committed.

“There will be a final right of appeal from the decision of the Greek Federation to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Kenteris was the Olympic 200 metres gold medallist in Sydney four years ago when Thanou finished runner-up over 100m.

The IAAF carried out an extensive three-month investigation with cooperation from the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency and the Greek civil authorities.

The investigation was initiated when both athletes failed to attend a drugs test on August 12, just prior to the Olympic Games beginning in Athens, from which both subsequently withdrew.

The IAAF enquiries revealed Kenteris and Thanou were without reasonable excuses in missing random tests when training in Tel Aviv, Chicago and Athens.

The pair also face civil charges after using a supposed traffic accident as an excuse for failing to attend the pre-Olympic drugs test.

Both spent four days in hospital after the alleged motorcycle crash, the aftermath of which also involves the civil prosecution of eye-witnesses to the incident and medical staff who wrote false reports.

The IAAF have now handed over jurisdiction to the Greek Federation.

If found guilty it is almost certain a two-year suspension - the recommended tariff agreed between the IAAF and WADA - will be the punishment imposed upon them.

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