Kenteris, Thanou face 2-year ban

Disgraced sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, already facing charges of faking a traffic accident to dodge a drug test on the eve of the Athens Olympics, were yesterday charged by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for missing mandatory doping checks. The IAAF’s Doping Review Board said the pair failed to attend tests in Tel Aviv and Chicago before the August 13 to 29 Games, as well as one the night before the opening ceremony. If found guilty, the athletes could face a two-year ban from the sport. Their lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said the sprinters would prove their innocence. Their coach at the time, Christos Tzekos, has also been charged with distributing banned substances and tampering with the doping control process. «If it is their intention to convict us, they will come up with something. They are trying to foist thousands of things on us. Whatever happens, it must be Tzekos’s fault,» Tzekos said in response to the IAAF charges. The case has now been referred to the Hellenic Amateur Athletic Association (SEGAS), which has the authority to impose a ban. The sprinters and their former trainer will have until December 16 to respond, and, if their defense is rejected, they will be provisionally suspended pending a SEGAS disciplinary tribunal. The trio will be able to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne over any punishment handed down to them. Prosecutors brought misdemeanor charges on November 18 against the Sydney 2000 medalists, Tzekos, five people who claimed to have seen the supposed motorcycle crash and seven doctors at Athens’s KAT Hospital where the athletes were treated for their alleged injuries. Tzekos was also charged with importing and dealing in illegal performance-enhancing substances. Kenteris, Thanou and Tzekos have denied the charges.