Greek sprinters cleared of perjury


Former Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou have won their appeals against suspended jail sentences for perjury, court officials said on Tuesday. A unanimous verdict of not guilty was announced by the Greek Court of Appeal for the Sydney 2000 Olympic medallists, who had in May been sentenced to 31 months in jail for staging a motorcycle crash to avoid a doping test before the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Their former coach, Christos Tzekos, had a original 33-month sentence cut to 12 months suspended for three years after being found guilty of perjury.
The 2004 scandal, widely regarded as the biggest at an Olympics since Canadian Ben Johnson lost his 100 metres gold medal in Seoul in 1988 after a positive doping test, cast a huge cloud over the Athens Games for the host country.
The trial, which took years to start after frequent postponements, began in January and suffered several delays due to the absence of witnesses.
Kenteris, the 200 metres gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and 100 metres silver medallist Thanou were acquitted of doping charges in a Greek athletics federation probe in 2005.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) appealed the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
They settled out of court in 2006 and subsequently admitted only to anti-doping rule violations, essentially serving out their unofficial two-year suspensions.