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Italian sports court clears 8 Olympic athletes of eluding drug tests

Europe
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Rome (dpa) - Eight out of 26 Italian Olympic athletes who risked skipping the summer games in Rio de Jaineiro for breaking doping test regulations were cleared on Monday of all charges by a sports tribunal.

Former world silver medallist long-jumper Andrew Howe and former European triple jump champion Fabrizio Donato were among those acquitted by the National Anti-Doping Tribunal, Italy‘s Athletics Federation Fidal said in a statement.

"We, athletes accused of wilfully eluding anti-doping tests, feel proud, now that all eight of us have been cleared of all blame, of having had the courage to stand united against a charge that we knew to be completely baseless," they said in a separate statement released by Fidal.

Monday‘s ruling should set a precedent for the acquittal of the other 18 athletes facing similar charges, the statement added.

In December, anti-doping prosecutors called for a two-year ban against all 26 suspects.

Their request came at the end of an investigation triggered by the case of Alex Schwazer, a race walker who won Olympic gold in 2008 but was caught doping just ahead of the London 2012 Games and banned three and a half years.

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