Odesnik suspended for importing HGH

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The Independent Online

American tennis player Wayne Odesnik has accepted a "voluntary provisional suspension" after admitting importing human growth hormone (HGH), the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said today.

The 24-year-old was in January caught with eight vials of HGH, each containing six milligrams of the substance, by customs officers in Australia ahead of the season's first grand slam tournament.

Odesnik, the world number 111, last month pleaded guilty in an Australian court to importing the HGH.

The ITF is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Authority's code under which a two-year ban can be imposed for possession of prohibited substances.

The ITF told Reuters that Odesnik's suspension will run until his case - currently being investigated by the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme - is finished and an independent tribunal has made its decision.

The South African born left-hander, who has not won a tournament on the ATP Tour, reached a career-high 77 in the rankings a year ago.

Last month World Anti-Doping director general David Howman told Reuters that HGH had been the drug of choice for many athletes as testing for it had only recently been developed.