Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

The two Greek sprinters who plunged the Olympics into crisis after missing a drugs test announced on Wednesday they were pulling out of the Games.

The pair emerged from an hour-long disciplinary hearing of the International Olympic Committee to announce their withdrawal.

Greek Olympic 200 metres champion Costas Kenteris, a national hero dubbed ?Greece Lightning? said he was withdrawing ?out of a sense of responsibility?.

?I am adamant, I was never notified to go to the Olympic Village to take the test.?

?Over the last years, I have gone through over 30 tests with no problems,? he added, referring to his missed eve-of-Games test last Thursday.

Katerina Thanou, silver medallist at the Sydney Games, said: ?I want to apologise to the Greek people that I will not be at the Games, that I will not manage to race, and that is why I handed my accreditation into the IOC today.?

It is not yet clear what the outcome of the IOC disciplinary panel will be. The case is expected to the IOC executive board for them to make a decision later on Wednesday.

A three-man International Olympic Committee disciplinary panel had been due to meet on Monday morning to judge whether the athletes had a case to answer after failing to attend a drugs test last Thursday night.

But their lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakapoulos, appealed for a delay claiming that both athletes remained in hospital on intravenous drips following a motorcycle accident on the same evening they missed the test.

The IOC, for the second time, reluctantly agreed to the request. It had hoped to clear the matter up before the opening ceremony last Friday and president Jacques Rogge has become increasingly frustrated by the delays.

Mr Dimitrakapoulos will have not helped his client?s case by describing the delay as winning ?the first fight?.

If found guilty of a doping offence Kenteris and Thanou face being banned for up to two years. The Greek Olympic committee suspended them on Saturday pending the outcome of the IOC hearing.

The IOC will have to decide whether the two deliberately missed the Athens test at the Greek team?s camp or were not aware that they needed to be on site.

However their case suffered further damage on Sunday when the International Association of Athletics Federations revealed that the two Greek sprinters had already missed two drugs tests ? in Tel Aviv and Chicago ? before the one they failed to attend in Athens on the eve of the opening ceremony.

Get alerts on News when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Comments have not been enabled for this article.

Follow the topics in this article