Italian official banned for life

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The Independent Online
Athletics

MIKE ROWBOTTOM

An official has been banned for life and two others disciplined by the Italian federation for irregularities which caused a world-record long jump by Ivan Pedroso to be invalidated.

The Cuban jumped 8.96 metres in Sestriere on 29 July, with wind assistance apparently inside the legal limit at 1.2 metres per second. But, to Cuban fury, the Italian federation refused to submit the mark for ratification after film showed an official - Luciano Gemello - in front of the wind gauge during the jump.

Gemello, a former pole vaulter, was banned for life and two event judges, Paolo Gugliemi and Denis Morino, were suspended for three years. Of 60 jumps in the long jump and triple jump events at the high-altitude meeting, only four were registered as within the legal wind speed limit, and three of those were Pedroso's. Technical experts using wind-tunnel data had estimated the true speed at between three and five metres per second.

Officials said the case would be referred as a formality to the International Amateur Athletic Federation council, and that the record of 8.95m set by the American Mike Powell in Tokyo in 1991 would stand. The Italian federation won praise from several Italian papers for the findings of the inquiry, though not for the investigation's speed.

In 1987 officials tried to rig the long jump at the World Championships in Rome by mis-measuring a jump by Italy's Giovanni Evangelisti so he would win the bronze medal. The IAAF president, Primo Nebiolo, chaired an inquiry which found nothing untoward, but a later investigation by the Italian Olympic Committee revealed misconduct.

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