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Greek sprint pair suspended
Daniel Howden |
August 14, 2004 23:33 IST
Olympic 200 metres champion Costas Kenteris and women's 100 metres silver medallist Katerina Thanou have been suspended from the Greek team at the Athens Games pending an IOC hearing into a missed drugs test.
Saturday's decision by the Greek Olympic Committee puts the onus of direct action back on the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC has scheduled a hearing into the case of the two sprinters for Monday.
Greek officials took four hours to reach a 5-1 split decision. "Exchanges were extremely heated," the head of the Greek Olympic Committee Lambis Nikolaou said.
"In my opinion they should have been expelled from the team right now," he added.
The sprinters' coach Christos Tzekos said: "We have done everything by the book.
"We have nothing to be afraid of and I would like to thank everyone who supports us," Tzekos told reporters after the meeting.
As well as missing Thursday's drugs test, the two Sydney medallists had both also missed a test in the United States scheduled for earlier in the week after leaving for Athens a day earlier than planned.
The IOC decided on Friday to give the two athletes a 72-hour extension when they failed to show up for a disciplinary commission drugs tribunal after both being hurt in a motorcycle accident.
Kenteris had been tipped as the man to light the flame at the Games opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium on Friday but, in a surprise, the honour instead went to Nikos Kaklamanakis, a windsurfing gold medallist in 1996.
Kenteris and Thanou are still in hospital after being injured in the mystery motorcycle accident. Both were said to be stable and not seriously hurt but are expected to remain in a special athletes' isolation ward until Sunday.
A statement on their injuries in the crash, in which no other vehicle was involved, said Kenteris "sustained a slight head injury, a sprain to the vertebra at the back of his neck, a knee sprain and scratches to his right leg".
Thanou suffered "slight abdominal injuries, a sprain to the right leg".
The IOC delayed their hearing because the athletes had medical documentation saying they should not be transferred.
The three-member IOC disciplinary commission could rule that a missed test is a failed test, which carries a two-year ban.