Kenteris, Thanou charged with WADA code violation

ATHENS, AUG. 14. It is getting curiouser and curiouser. That is what everybody here thinks about the issue involving the Greek sprinter and defending 200m champion, Kostantinos Kenteris. The news floating from conference rooms is that the athlete might withdraw from the Games citing injuries sustained in an accident on Thursday night after he left the Olympic Village with Ekaterini Thanou, silver medallist in the 100m in Sydney.

It is gathered that the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC), clearly embarrassed by the development, discussed the issue at length and agreed on a face-saving formula on Saturday.

Both athletes were charged with violating the WADA Code by their alleged refusal to take the drug test on Friday evening. The allegation, however, is refuted by the Greek authorities, who maintain that the two went out of the Olympic Village to collect their personal belongings.

No bad record

Meanwhile, Istvan Gyulai, Secretary, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), confirmed that Kenteris had come out successful in two out-of-competition tests in the last 10 months as did Thanou in seven months. Athletics sources however wonder why Kenteris was lying low after that spectacular victory in Sydney and the world event in 2001.

What the outcome of this sad episode will be is anybody's guess. But the predominant opinion among veteran athletics observers and officials is that Kenteris would be excluded from competition. Given the strong message that IOC and WADA are sending to drug cheats, the Greeks may well miss their chance to perform in front of their supporters who had idolised them thus far.

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