Italian anti-doping body calls for bans on 26 athletes

Wed Dec 2, 2015 4:34pm EST
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ROME (Reuters) - Italian anti-doping authorities have called for two-year bans on 26 athletes, including Olympic bronze medalist Fabrizio Donato and European champion long jumper Andrew Howe, for allegedly failing to provide doping samples.

Italy's National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) accused the athletes of evading doping controls or failing to be available for them, the country's Olympic Committee (CONI) said in a statement on Wednesday. NADO also called for cases against a further 39 athletes to be dropped.

The 26 athletes named included Howe, who won the European title in 2006 and a world silver medal a year later, and Donato, who was European triple jump champion in 2012 and won a bronze at the London Olympics the same year.

Daniele Meucci, reigning European marathon champion, was also named.

Others included Giuseppe Gibilisco, a former pole vaulter who was world champion in 2003 and Olympic bronze medalist in Athens the following year, and former European marathon champion Anna Incerti.

The accusations followed a police investigation in Trento, in northern Italy.

None of the accused had yet responded publicly, reports said. Gazzetta dello Sport said the accusations could have repercussions for Italy's hopes at next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Athletics was plunged into crisis last month over a report by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed systematic, state-sponsored doping and related corruption in Russia.

The IAAF, governing body of world athletics, has since voted overwhelmingly to suspend Russia from the sport -- potentially casting one of track and field's most successful nations out of next year's Rio Olympics.   Continued...

Fabrizio Donato of Italy competes in the men's triple jump final during the European Athletics Championships at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich in this August 14, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Phil Noble