Olympics: Thanou Lawyer Slams IOC ‘Discrimination’

ATHENS : The lawyer of controversial Greek sprinter Ekaterina Thanou on Friday accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of discriminating against her by delaying a decision on her participation in the Beijing Olympics.

Thanou, who admitted missing three doping tests prior to the Athens 2004 Games but has never tested positive, will have to wait until August 7, the day before the Beijing Games open, to learn whether she can compete after the IOC postponed a decision, lawyer Nikos Kollias told AFP.

“There is discrimination against Thanou,” Kollias said.

“We have asked the IOC to clear up the issue for the past year.

“At the same time, athletes who have admitted taking performance drugs and were punished are taking part in the Beijing Games without problem,” he added.

Several American athletes who have failed doping tests and served suspensions are on the US team, including hurdler Damu Cherry and former 100m world champion Torri Edwards.

Hungarian discus thrower Robert Fazekas, stripped of the gold medal for failing to provide a sample in Athens four years ago, has also qualified for the Beijing Games.

Thanou’s case was expected to be discussed this weekend and she had planned to travel to Beijing on Monday, but the IOC on Thursday said the issue would be put to the IOC disciplinary committee on August 7, her lawyer said.

Thanou, 33, has threatened to take legal action should the IOC attempt to prevent her competing in Beijing.

“She has qualified, she has a right to compete and she even has Olympic accreditation which means she can stay at the Olympic Village,” Kollias said.

Thanou is also in line to receive the Sydney Olympics 100m gold medal stripped from disgraced US track queen Marion Jones and a decision was expected in Beijing but the IOC have said nothing on the issue, he added.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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