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Sports Shorts: Dutch Olympic athlete jailed for drug trafficking

November 05, 2019 14:55 IST

Summary of sports events and persons who made news on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Madiea Ghafoor was stopped at a border check in Elten in June where 50kg of ecstasy, 2kg of crystal meth and 11,950 euros in cash were seized by police. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Dutch Olympic athlete Madiea Ghafoor has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail after 2 million pounds ($2.58 million) worth of ecstasy tablets and crystal meth were found in the boot of her car in Germany, DPA news agency has reported.

 

Ghafoor, 27, was stopped at a border check in Elten in June where 50kg of ecstasy, 2kg of crystal meth and 11,950 euros in cash were seized by police, the report said.

The athlete, who ran for the Netherlands in the 4x400m relay at the 2016 Olympic Games, pleaded not guilty to the charges at Kleve District Court and said she thought she was carrying doping materials, the German news agency said.

The Dutch Athletics Union said it was shocked by the case and would investigate Ghafoor’s claim concerning doping materials to ascertain who else might have been involved.

"We are stunned by the judgement," a statement on the organisation’s website said. "With the ruling of the German court, the Athletics Union rejects the actions of Ghafoor.

"The Athletics Union condemns any use or trade in doping or drugs and fully commits itself to the Dutch doping law.

"The case has been transferred to the Doping Authority to investigate the extent to which the doping legislation has been violated."

Ghafoor refused to reveal who she was transporting the drugs for and said she feared for the safety of her family, DPA said.

Hurdler Harper Nelson ends retirement to chase Olympic gold

Dawn Harper Nelson

IMAGE: Dawn Harper Nelson said she is training for the 2020 Tokyo Games and hopes to win a third Olympic 100m hurdles medal. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Harper Nelson, who gave birth to a daughter in April, said on Monday she is training for the 2020 Tokyo Games and hopes to win a third Olympic 100m hurdles medal.

"I know I still have the talent and can do it," Harper Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 silver medallist, said.

She retired from the sport in 2018 to start a family but said her Olympic dream never really died.

"The whole time, I didn't know in my heart if I was done," Harper Nelson said.

During her pregnancy she continued to work out, telling friends she just wanted to feel good, but talk of making a return became serious after her daughter's birth and she went back to the track in May.

"I didn't want Harper to feel like her birth symbolized mom's dream dying," said Harper Nelson, who won her first world championship medal, a bronze, in 2011.

"So I talked with my family and I talked with my husband, and my husband was like, 'We are doing it if you want to do it.'"

Discussions are under way for longtime mentor Bob Kersee to direct her training again with her husband, Alonzo Nelson, assisting in East St. Louis.

The challenge will not be an easy one, even though her physio team has told the 2017 world silver medallist that physically she looks the best she has in years.

Americans swept all three medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and took the top two spots at the recent Doha world championships.

But Harper Nelson believes she can be in the mix.

"I know I still have the speed and with my technique, I think I can still put together an amazing race and still run some personal bests," said the American, whose personal best of 12.37 seconds makes her the joint 13th fastest hurdler of all-time.

She hopes to start the comeback with several indoor meets.

"That (indoor meets) will be important because when I started training, I didn't have that pop, that burst of speed," said Harper Nelson.

"I've tasted gold, silver and bronze and gold tastes the best," she said of her medal haul.

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