SPORTS

Kenteris, Thanou face perjury charge

An Athens prosecutor has called for disgraced sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou to stand trial for allegedly faking a motorcycle accident after missing doping tests on the eve of the 2004 Olympics. Prosecutor Andreas Karaflos also recommended that coach Christos Tzekos, who trained both athletes simultaneously, stand trial. In his report, Karaflos said Tzekos and the sprinters staged the crash because the consequences of missing the unannounced drug tests «would have been catastrophic for their careers.» The coach and runners would be tried for perjury and making false statements to authorities, while Tzekos was also cited for illegally importing and selling banned substances. The misdemeanor charges against the sprinters and Tzekos carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison. Prosecutors also cited two other people suspected of misleading authorities investigating the case. They would face lesser sentences if found guilty. A three-member council of judges is expected to rule on Karaflos’s recommendation early next year. Kenteris and Thanou missed drug tests on August 12, 2004. They spent four days in a hospital, contending they were injured in a motorcycle crash, before withdrawing from the Games. The runners were temporarily suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations in December 2004. In March, the Greek track-and-field federation cleared them of deliberately evading the tests, saying they hadn’t been properly notified. The IAAF appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to overturn the Greek ruling and impose minimum two-year bans. The CAS listened to testimony in October and will hold a second hearing. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Kenteris won the 200-meter gold medal and Thanou the silver in the 100. Kenteris also won gold at the 2001 World and 2002 European Athletics Championships. (AP)