IAAF to appeal ruling on sprinters

The world’s top athletics body yesterday rejected as «erroneous» a decision by Greek sports authorities to acquit disgraced sprint stars Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou of dodging drug tests ahead of the Athens Olympics. The International Association of Athletics Federations said it would appeal last month’s decision by the Greek athletics federation (SEGAS), referring it for arbitration to the Court of Arbitration for Sport «on a timely basis under IAAF rules.» The IAAF doping review board also decided to suspend both runners pending the outcome of the CAS decision. The international athletics body suspended the two in December, pending a decision by SEGAS – which eventually ruled that Kenteris and Thanou had never been notified about the tests. Their former coach Christos Tzekos was banned for four years for failing to pass on the message. Kenteris and Thanou, who won the gold in the men’s 200-meter and silver in the women’s 100, respectively, at the Sydney Olympics, allegedly dodged three drug tests in the runup to the Athens Olympics. Although major Greek medal hopes at the Games, they were forced to pull out after failing to appear for a doping test on the eve of the opening ceremony. Their excuse was that they fell off a motorbike on their way to be tested. But a Greek prosecutor has charged them with faking the crash. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday it would conduct its own investigation into the two if they tried to compete at the 2008 Beijing Games.

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