» Sports » Puerta's ban reduced to two years

Puerta's ban reduced to two years

July 12, 2006 20:19 IST

Argentine Mariano Puerta's record eight-year ban following a positive dope test has been reduced to two years on appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Wednesday.

The start of the ban is backdated to June 5, 2005, the date of the French Open final which Puerta lost to Spain's Rafael Nadal. A urine sample was taken on that day which later tested positive for the banned stimulant etilefrine.

"The appeal filed by Mr Mariano Puerta is partially upheld," the Lausanne-based CAS said in a statement.

The CAS ruled that Puerta would lose all his results and prize money at last year's French Open and the tournaments he took part in afterwards and all rankings points obtained since.

An International Tennis Federation independent anti-doping tribunal had determined that his positive test resulted from an "inadvertent" administration of etilefrine.

The ITF handed down its original record eight-year suspension in December because it was Puerta's second positive test. He had served a ninth-month suspension after testing positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol in 2003.

CAS said it agreed with the ITF tribunal that the source of the banned substance in 2005 was medication being taken by Puerta's wife for pre-menstrual tension, and that "on the balance of probabilities" the player had mistakenly used a glass previously used by his wife to take this medication.

His taking of the drug was "non-deliberate, he was unaware of it and it involved 'no significant fault or negligence'," CAS said.

Etilefrine is not "due to its pharmacological profile, a 'cheat's choice' of drug," it added.

The original ban effectively ended the 27-year-old's career although it fell short of the lifetime ban the ITF could have imposed.

Puerta had reached the world's top 10 before his second ban.

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