Judo: Cousins wins appeal over suspension from future Olympics

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The Independent Online

Peter Cousins, the first British sportsman to be banned for missing three random doping tests, has won his appeal against suspension from all future Olympic Games. The ruling announced yesterday will offer grounds for cautious optimism to the similarly placed sporting figures who have yet to mount appeals - the Commonwealth 400m champion, Christine Ohuruogu, and the world triathlon champion ,Tim Don.

Cousins, suspended for three months in January after falling foul of the rule introduced in July 2005 under World Anti Doping Agency guidelines, overturned the automatic Olympic ban applied by the British Olympic Association to any competitor who seriously breaches anti-doping guidelines.

A BOA appeals panel accepted that there had been "significant mitigating circumstances" in the case of the judo player, centring on problems with the on-line system introduced at the same time as the new rule in order for competitors to notify the authorities about changes of availability for testing.

"It was clear to the panel that at the particular time of these missed tests there were some technological teething problems and some understandable confusion," the panel's report read. "This resulted in a lack of understanding by Mr Cousins when operating this new system."

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