22 Feb 2011

Former Greek sprinters defy court order

4:41 pm on 22 February 2011

The former Greek sprinters accused of staging a motorcycle crash on the eve of the 2004 Olympic Games to avoid a doping test, have failed to appear in court in their trial.

Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou are charged with making false statements to authorities in the Athens Olympics doping scandal.

If convicted of misdemeanour, the sprinters could face up to a five-year suspended jail sentence.

Kenteris's lawyer says that his client was abroad due to a "family issue", while no reason was given for the absence of Thanou.

Kenteris, the 200 metres gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and 100 metres silver medallist Thanou were acquitted of doping charges in a Greek athletics federation probe in 2005.

The International Association of Athletics Federations appealed the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

They settled out of court in 2006 and subsequently admitted only to anti-doping rule violations, essentially serving out their unofficial two-year suspensions.