Denmark out of British team

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The Independent Online
Rob Denmark, Britain's Commonwealth 5,000 metres champion, yesterday withdrew from the Olympics, citing poor form, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Denmark, who has recently suffered with Achilles tendon problems, said he was "not in sufficiently good shape" to take up his place. "Rob did not feel he would be able to do himself justice," the team spokesman, Tony Ward, said.

Denmark's withdrawal, before he left home for Britain's training camp in Tallahassee, Florida, means John Nuttall will be the only British 5,000m competitor.

A scheduling alteration by NBC, the network broadcasting organisation for the Games, will mean British television viewers waiting to see the likes of Linford Christie in the 100 metres and Michael Johnson in the 200 and 400m will have to stay up even longer into the early hours.

NBC has persuaded the International Amateur Athletic Federation to shift several key athletics programmes to accomodate prime-time audiences on the West Coast.

The track sessions of 27 July, which includes the 100m final, and 1 August, which features the 200m final, have been moved an hour later. The 100m final now takes place at 2am British time on 28 July. The 200m final, previously due to take place at 7.55pm local time, has been moved to 9.10 - 2.10am in Britain.

"Do we want Michael Johnson to run at 9pm instead of 8pm? Of course we do," said NBC vice president Ed Markey. "Because it enhances our prime time telecast and makes it available to the biggest possible audience."

Dean Capobianco, the Australian sprinter suspended after a doping test showed traces of the banned steroid stanozolol, has won leave to compete in the Games after an independent tribunal had ruled in his favour. Athletics Australia reported that there had been deficiencies in the handling of Capobianco's sample, and in the chain-of-command details recorded.

The Italian high jumper Antonella Bevilacqua, who has tested positive for the banned stimulant ephedrine, will learn only next week if she can compete at the Olympics, athletics officials said yesterday. The International Amateur Athletic Federation said in a statement her case would be considered at its next council meeting on 25 July, the day before the Games' track programme begins.

Bevilacqua, one of the top six jumpers in the world, tested positive at a meeting in Milan on 4 May. She said she had taken the stimulant, which incurs an automatic three-month ban, by mistake in an over-the-counter Chinese herbal medicine.

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