Athletics: Krabbe faces four-year drug ban

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The Independent Online
KATRIN KRABBE and her German team-mate, Grit Breuer, face four-year bans from competition after it was announced yesterday that the second urine samples provided by the athletes contained the banned stimulant and anabolic agent, clenbuterol.

Ruediger Nickel, of DLV, the German Sports Federation, said that B samples supplied by the pair had matched the positive results of the A samples which were announced earlier this month. 'That confirms that all the tests given by the athletes contained clenbuterol,' Nickel said. The tests were ordered by the DLV after the athletes began training in their home town of Neubrandenburg and in Zinnowitz.

The International Olympic Committee announced that Krabbe, the 100 and 200 metres champion at last year's world championships, and Breuer, the world 400m silver medallist, would be suspended immediately. The DLV's board must now meet to impose officially the minimum penalty of a four-year ban in accordance with the International Amateur Athletic Federation rules. 'The athletes have four weeks to appeal against the ban to the legal commission (arbitration panel) of the DLV,' Nickel said.

The consequences of the findings are alread being felt. Heiner Jank, the chief executive of Neubrandenburg Sports Club, where Krabbe began her career at the age of 13, said: 'This affair has driven us to the brink of collapse.'

The club, using Krabbe as its flagship, had revamped itself over the last two years into a successful business attracting substantial sponsorship. But Krabbe's fall has prompted the first sponsor, a German fashionwear company, to end its ties: others may follow.

The American sportswear firm, Nike, supplies the club with equipment free of charge, but the contract expires in October. 'We'll have to see then whether the club is still attractive without its main attraction,' Daniel Gottschalk, Nike's spokesman in Germany, said.

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