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September 25, 2000
Sotomayor slams criticsAdrian Warner
Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor won silver at the Sydney Olympics on Sunday and hit back at critics who opposed his appearance at the Games after a two-year doping ban was halved.
"I have robbed nothing. I've had to put up with a lot for a year," said the 1992 Olympic champion, who was only allowed to compete after his ban for a positive test for cocaine was cut by athletics' world governing body for humanitarian reasons.
"I do not know who should think I should not be here. I should have been competing for a year. I have been the victim of something that did not happen."
The 32-year-old Sotomayor, who tested positive at last year's Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, denied taking cocaine and was cleared by his national federation.
The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) decided to reinistate the finest jumper in the history of sport on humanitarian grounds.
The decision came under from fire from International Olympic Committee vice president Dick Pound just before the Games. He called it "off-message in the anti-doping field".
Sotomayor, who plans to clear his name after the Games, got a cheer when he was introduced to the crowd before the start of Sunday's event.
He finished behind Russian Sergei Kliugin in a competition upset by rain.
Asked if he had come to Sydney to restore his honour, the Cuban said: "I have never lost my honour. Some people have accused me. I felt like a victim.
"I have not come to the competition to prove anything. I have been competing for 17 years and won many medals in this type of competition -- free of substances.
"I was affected pyschologically for over a year when I could not compete. In my first competition back I was slightly injured. For all these reasons I have not been in perfect condition but today I felt very well."
Sotomayor said he believed there were problems with the doping test.
He said he planned to compete for another year and take part in next year's world championships in Canada.
Algeria's Abderrahmane Hammad, who took the bronze medal, said he did not feel Sotomayor had robbed him of silver.
"I never thought that. He had a problem and it's been settled," the Algerian said.
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