Thanou set Beijing deadline

The doping-tainted Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou must decide by today whether she will compete at the Beijing Olympics.

Katerina Thanou has been sub-par since 2006.
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ATHENS // The doping-tainted Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou must decide by today if she will compete in the Olympics. Thanou, who served a two-year ban for missing drugs tests including one on the eve of the Athens 2004 Olympics with fellow sprinter Costas Kenteris, has not yet announced her decision. The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said the deadline for the final athletics list was today.

The HOC said it had not heard from Thanou. "She has to let us know by Wednesday," an HOC official said. "Until now we have not heard anything. There are procedures that need to be done so we have to know very soon. Team members and officials have already started leaving for China." Kenteris and Thanou, who won a 100m silver medal at the Sydney Games in 2000, were subsequently banned for anti-doping rule violations after a lengthy legal battle.

They have raced only rarely since the end of their suspensions in December 2006. Thanou, 33, has competed in some smaller events andm, despite meeting the qualifying time for the Olympics, she is well off her personal bests. Her presence in Beijing would be awkward for the International Olympic Committee, which has yet to decide if Thanou will be awarded the Sydney 100m gold medal after the US sprinter Marion Jones had her medals stripped for doping.

The IOC has said that should Thanou decide to travel to Beijing, it reserved the right to examine her eligibility for the Games. * Reuters