Kederis protests his innocence

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The Independent Online

Konstadinos Kederis emerged unrepentant from the KAT hospital in Athens yesterday ahead of his doping hearing and denied he was a drugs cheat, adding: "After crucifixion comes resurrection."

Konstadinos Kederis emerged unrepentant from the KAT hospital in Athens yesterday ahead of his doping hearing and denied he was a drugs cheat, adding: "After crucifixion comes resurrection."

It also emerged that a medical examiner had not found any injuries on Kederis's training partner Ekaterini Thanou following the pair's reported motorcycle accident in the early hours of last Friday.

A judicial source said yesterday that Kederis had been found to have some scratches on his shin and right elbow, but added that the examiner's inspection on Monday did not rule out internal head injuries as both athletes had complained of feeling dizzy.

Kederis will face the International Olympic Committee's disciplinary commission today along with his training partner, both of whom are charged with evading doping tests. He told reporters who crowded round his car: "All these people who crucify me on TV are the same people who wanted to be photographed with me after every success. But after crucifixion comes resurrection."

He added, before being driven away: "I am suffering a great injustice and I want to say I never used banned substances and that this will be proven. I apologise to nobody. I thank those who have sent hundreds of letters, e-mails, telegrams at the hospital and flowers, from the depths of my heart."

Thanou left hospital 40 minutes later, looking despondent and putting her head back against the passenger seat as she was slowly driven out the front door.

"I feel very bitter with everything I have been hearing these past few days,' she said. "I am waiting for the IOC decision."

Kederis, the Olympic, world and European 200m champion, and Thanou, who won 100m silver at the Sydney Games, have been at the centre of a disastrously timed scandal for the host nation. They face two-year bans if charges that they had evaded testers in Chicago earlier this month and in the Olympic Village on Thursday are substantiated.

Both are also the subject of a police investigation looking at both the doping infringement charges and the details of the accident they were said to have been involved in after leaving their coach's house in an Athens suburb on his motorbike in the middle of the night.

Kederis is thought to have been originally chosen by the Greeks to light the Olympic cauldron at Friday's Opening Ceremony. The Greek Olympic committee suspended both athletes from their team on Saturday, pending a final decision by the IOC.

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