Thanou returns to competition next month

Wednesday January 24, 2007

Thanou returns to competition next month

ATHENS: Two-and-a-half years after being suspended for a doping offence, Greek female sprint star Katerina Thanou has said she will take part next month for the first time in an official meet in Athens.

The former World and European Indoor Champion and Olympics medallist was suspended just before the Athens 2004 Olympics after failing to attend a drugs test.

Thanou has announced in two Greek internet sites that she will be running in the 60-meter dash on Feb 3 at the Greek Indoor Athletics Championships.

She said she will be attempting to reach the minimum 7.40 seconds time in order to qualify for the European Indoor Championships to be held next month in Birmingham, England.

Thanou has a personal best of 6.96 recorded in 1999.

One of the main hopes of the home crowd for winning a medal in the Athens Olympics, she and her training partner Kostas Kenteris, another world class sprinter, were suspended by the world athletics governing body IAAF on Dec 22 2004.

After a lengthy legal battle, the two were eventually allowed to compete from Dec 22 2006 onwards.

But Thanou has been under close watch by the drug control agency WADA having already gone through four doping control tests in the last month, including three in South Africa where she trained last month. – AFP