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Kabaeva puts controversy behind to take gold

Alan Crosby | August 29, 2004 23:58 IST

Alina Kabaeva put a drugs controversy behind her on Sunday, performing four sultry routines to win the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-round gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Kabaeva won four of five events at the 2001 world championships but was stripped of those medals and suspended for a year after testing positive for a diuretic at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane.

"The controversy is in the past, it doesn't concern me anymore," she said.

The 21-year-old Russian has maintained she did not knowingly take a banned substance.

Four years ago, a mistake with the hoop ruined Kabaeva's Olympic dreams and she had to settle for bronze at the Sydney Games.

This time around she performed a near flawless hoop routine -- her weakest of the four rotations -- to place second and position herself for the final three.

Her game plan worked to perfection as she placed first in the ball, clubs and ribbon to easily outclass her compatriot Irina Tchachina with a score of 108.400

Tchachina settled for second after a bobble during the final ribbon rotation while Ukraine's Anna Bessonova took bronze.

"I wanted to make sure I was in a position to win. I did that and then held on to make sure I made no mistakes from then on," Kabaeva said.

(Additional reporting by Pritha Sarkar)


Athens 2004: The Complete Coverage

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