On this day in 2005: Kenteris and Thanou cleared of wilfully missing drug tests

On this day in 2005: Kenteris and Thanou cleared of wilfully missing drug tests

Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were cleared of deliberately missing drug tests on this day in 2005.

The duo had been provisionally suspended by the IAAF for allegedly missing three drugs tests, including one on the eve of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

But the Greek Athletics Federation tribunal overturned the bans on March 18, 2005 with panel head Kostas Panagopoulos saying it had not been proven that the athletes refused to take the test in Athens.

Olympics Campbell line
Kostas Kenteris (right) celebrates his 200m victory at the 2000 Olympics, taking gold ahead of Great Britain’s Darren Campbell (left) in Sydney (John Giles/PA)

“The charge cannot be substantiated,” Panagopoulos said.

“In no way was he (Kenteris) informed to appear for a doping test. The same goes for Thanou.”

Kenteris, then 31, and Thanou, then 30, had been charged with avoiding drug tests in Tel Aviv, Chicago and Athens and failing to notify anti-doping officials of their whereabouts before the Olympics.

They withdrew from the Olympics after missing a drugs test at the Olympic Village on August 12.

Athletics – 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships – National Indoor Arena – Birmingham
Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou won 100m silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but was later banned for two years alongside Kenteris (David Jones/PA)

The pair then spent four days in a hospital, claiming they had been injured in a motorcycle crash.

Their coach Christos Tsekos was blamed for the missed tests and was banned for four years.

The IAAF said it was “very surprised” by the verdict and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to overturn the Greek ruling and impose minimum two-year bans.

The Greek sprinters later agreed a deal with the IAAF acknowledging they breached rules by missing three dope tests ahead of the 2004 Olympics and remained banned until December 22, 2006.

Kenteris had won gold in the 200m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, while Thanou claimed 100m silver at the same Games.