SPORTS

Anti-drugs chief sees sprinter ban looming

World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) chairman Dick Pound yesterday expressed confidence that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will rule that Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou did dodge a drugs test on the eve of the Athens 2004 Olympics. «We’re satisfied on the basis of what we know that there was a doping violation,» Pound told Greek private radio station Skai. «We’re confident that [CAS] will reach the right decision,» he said. Kenteris, 31, and Thanou, 30, were sporting icons in Greece but fell from grace almost overnight on the eve of the Athens Games, when they disappeared from the Olympic Village shortly before testers arrived to submit them to a doping test. World athletics federation IAAF decided in April to refer the athletes to the Lausanne-based CAS two weeks after the Greek athletics federation (SEGAS) acquitted them of any wrongdoing, pointing the finger at their coach, Christos Tzekos, instead. «It was disappointing to have that decision based on everything we know,» Pound said, adding that «WADA will join in with the IAAF on that appeal.» Both Kenteris and Thanou remain suspended from competition pending the outcome of the CAS decision. Tzekos was given a four-year stadium ban by Segas. The IAAF later charged both Sydney 2000 medalists with also missing tests in Tel Aviv and Chicago in the weeks leading up to the Athens Games. SEGAS ruled that Kenteris gave ample warning that he would not be in Chicago at the time of his test. An investigation into a motorcycle accident that allegedly landed Kenteris and Thanou in hospital after their departure from the Olympic Village is still ongoing. Two months ago, SEGAS chairman Vassilis Sevastis told Greece’s Parliament that the country had become a «warehouse of illegal substances» a few years ago, and that athletes can still find «whatever they want» by way of banned drugs. «(Today), athletes ranging from the least known to the elite have access to whatever they want… substances are completely unregulated, any athlete can obtain them from middlemen,» Sevastis said. The SEGAS chairman also told MPs that a number of other sports federations in Greece «still don’t test their athletes. And I’m not talking about two or three (federations),» he said. (AFP)