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Swim star Poll's doping ban cut


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SAN JOSE, Puerto Rico (Reuters) -- World swimming's governing body FINA has cut the doping ban on Claudia Poll from four to two years.

The Costa Rican will be allowed to compete in the 2004 Athens Olympics, her trainer said on Tuesday.

FINA suspended the former Olympic champion in June 2002 after she tested positive for norandrosterone, a metabolite of the banned steroid nandrolone.

"We are not satisfied because Claudia is fighting to be totally absolved, due to her complete innocence," said Francisco Rivas.

"The reduction of the ban shows us that we are on the right path but that we haven't achieved the goal of seeing Claudia clear of this false accusation," added Rivas.

Poll and Rivas have argued sampling and laboratory procedures were flawed and the quantities of nandrolone detected were too low to be significant.

But the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed Poll's appeal in February, saying she did not bring any convincing argument to establish her case.

Poll has been one of the sport's outstanding performers in recent years.

She took gold in the 200 metres freestyle at the 1996 Olympics before winning the long course freestyle title over the same distance at the 1998 world championships. Poll also claimed two bronze medals at the 2000 Olympics.

"Claudia has not stopped training and is ready to go for the times that would allow her to participate in Athens," Rivas said.

No one from FINA was immediately available to comment on the easing of the ban.



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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