Kenteris testimony gets postponed for few days

Court testimony by Greek sprinter Costas Kenteris over his missed drugs test before last year’s Olympics has been delayed for several days, a court official said yesterday. Kenteris was due to appear yesterday on criminal charges over the missed test and faking a motorcycle crash hours later. Kenteris, who won the 200 meters gold at the 2000 Olympics, and fellow sprinter Katerina Thanou face charges of avoiding three doping tests and giving false statements to police about the accident which left them in hospital for four days. «Kenteris asked for an extension of a few days before he testifies in front of the investigative magistrate,» the source told Reuters. «It has not yet been decided when he will appear before the magistrate.» Thanou is due to testify next week. If found guilty by the court, the athletes could receive suspended jail sentences of a few days as all charges are misdemeanors. Their coach Christos Tzekos faces similar charges and also one of importing banned substances. Seven hospital doctors who treated the athletes and five witnesses have also been charged with involvement in the case. The two sprinters were cleared of any wrongdoing by a Greek athletics commission in March in a shock decision that angered the International Association of Athletics Federations, the sport’s ruling body, and the World Anti-Doping Agency. They remain suspended from any competition pending an appeal filed by the IAAF with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Kenteris, 31, and Thanou, 30, and a 100-meters silver medalist at the Sydney Games, face two-year bans if they are found guilty by CAS. They withdrew from last year’s Games days before they were to race in front of their home crowd, to save Greece further embarrassment. They have consistently proclaimed their innocence and denied they were responsible for the Olympic movement’s biggest athletics scandal since 100-meters gold medalist Ben Johnson tested positive for steroids at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The athletes were cleared by their national federation on March 18 after Greek authorities said the pair were victims of incorrect procedures in notifying them of the doping tests.