Thanou continues comeback

Sprinter Katerina Thanou continued her successful comeback by winning the 60-meter dash in the IAAF Permit Athens 2007 Indoor Athletic Championships in Athens on Saturday. Thanou clocked 7.24, beating out Mariya Bolikovs of Russia, who placed second with 7.29. Earlier this month, Thanou made her return to competition two-and-a-half years after she won the Greek Indoor Championships in 7.28. Thanou has a personal best of 6.96, recorded in 1999, a national record. Thanou, 32, the former World and European Indoor Champion and Olympic medalist, was suspended before the start of the Athens Olympics in 2004 along with teammate Costas Kenteris for failing to show up for an anti-doping test. Her comeback performances have enabled her to qualify for the European Indoor Athletic Championships next weekend in Birmingham, England. Thanou is expected to race against her Belgian rival Kim Gevaert, who had cast aspersions on the Greek sprinter following their dual at the European Championships in Munich in 2002, where Thanou won gold. «I can’t stop thinking that the gold medal should have been mine. I don’t think Thanou is clean. She keeps hiding,» Gevaert had remarked. More recently, Gevaert had expressed contentment with Thanou’s failure to compete in the Athens Olympics. «I’m satisfied that she was caught and punished. I consider that the ordeal in Athens was the ultimate punishment as she wasn’t able to compete at the Olympic Games before her own people,» said Gevaert. «There’s no longer any reason for me to speak badly about her because she’s served her punishment.» (AFP/Kathimerini)