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September 28, 2000
Heartbreak for Raducan as plea is dismissedThe Rediff Team
The Court of Arbitration in Sport has dismissed teenaged Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan's plea to keep her gold medal after testing positive for a banned drug.
Raducan had appealed to the CAS after being stripped of her individual all-around gymnastics gold medal because she tested positive to pseudoephedrine, which was in the over-the-counter cold and flu medication Nurofen. The team doctor who prescribed the medication to treat a cold Raducan was suffering from has been banned until 2004.
The CAS panel comprising Australia's Dr Tricia Kavanagh, Switzerland's Dr Stephan Netzle and the USA'S Dr Maidie Oliveau confirmed that Raducan had tested positive for pseudoephedrine, that it was in breach of the IOC doping code, and that automatic disqualification was appropriate.
The CAS said that factors such as Raducan's age, weight, need for medication, reliance on the team doctor and the fact it did not enhance her performance were irrelevant.
``It is the presence of a prohibited substance in a competitor's bodily fluid which constitutes the offence, irrespective of whether or not the competitor intended to ingest the prohibited substance,'' the CAS panel said in its ruling, while upholding the IOC's decision to strip the gymnast of her individual gold.
``The panel is aware of the impact of its decision on a fine, young elite athlete. It finds that in balancing the interests of Miss Raducan with the commitment of the Olympic Movement to drug-free sport, the Anti-Doping Code must be enforced without compromise.''
Raducan faced the Arbitration Court at 3 pm Australia time.
The drama meanwhile had kicked off this morning with the IOC, which has been largely sympathetic to Raducan's cause while insisting that it had to stay within the letter of the law, accusing the Romanian doctor of giving conflicting evidence and complicating the issue.
IOC doping boss Prince Alexandre de Merode said that Loachim Oana, the Romanian doctor who gave Raducan two Nurofen tablets to treat a cold, said initially that he gave her one tablet.
"It is very difficult to know what happened, the medical doctor was confused, he declared one tablet, then he declared two tablets then he said he gave them to her everyday,'' Prince de Merode said.
De Merode revealed that the IOC had recently elevated the base level accepted by the IOC so that "ridiculous situations" arising from such prescription drugs were avoided, but that the levels found in Raducan were three times the accepted amount.
De Merode said the doctor was ''stupid'' not to know that Nurofen contained pseudoephedrine. "All he had to do was read the box, it is very clearly spelt out on the box."
IOC executive board member Dr Jacques Rogge, meanwhile, gave Romania some slight consolation when he said that country, and China, had taken the strongest stance against drug use. Romania and China were the only nations to have tested all their athletes before the Games.
"If all the national olympic committees did this before the Olympic Games it would help in the fight against drugs,'' Rogge pointed out.
Read earlier story: Romanians return medals, initiate boycott
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