Sprinters denied return to track

PARIS – Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou have been denied the chance to return to competition by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Both athletes have been suspended since December 2004 after allegedly dodging three drugs tests prior to the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The Lausanne-based CAS will hand down a decision on their case on June 26, but yesterday, sport’s main tribunal said the pair would not be able to return before that date. A statement said: «The application filed by the athletes… to lift the provisional suspension imposed on them by the IAAF pending the determination of the substantive CAS appeal has been rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). «A second hearing concerning this matter has been arranged. It will begin on Monday, June 26, 2006 and should last two or three days.» Kenteris, the 200-meter Olympic champion in 2000, and Thanou, who won the women’s 100-meter silver medal at Sydney, were provisionally suspended by IAAF, the athletics world ruling body, in the spring of last year after the Greek federation ruled they had no charges to answer. The pair then appeared at a CAS hearing in October 2005, but there was not sufficient time for all witnesses to testify. Kenteris and Thanou had already aroused the IAAF’s suspicion on the eve of the 2004 Games, where they stole the headlines after claiming to have been hurt in a motorbike crash. The IAAF alleged that prior to the August 2004 Games the Greek pair had failed to make themselves available to give testing samples in Chicago and Tel Aviv, and again in Athens on August 12. Kenteris and Thanou argued they were not sought by the testers in Athens, and this was accepted by both the independent Greek tribunal and CAS. (AFP)