Italy’s 2008 Olympic 50km race walk champion Alex Schwazer will retire after the Rio Olympics if his provisional doping ban is lifted on appeal because he is sickened by the world of athletics, said his coach Sandro Donati.
Schwazer, 31, got a provisional suspension from the world governing International Association of Athletics Federations earlier this month after testing positive for what his coach said was a banned steroid the athlete had not knowingly taken.
The walker, who faces a lifetime ban from the sport, has taken his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with his lawyer claiming the athlete’s sample was tampered with.
“If he manages to compete in the Olympic Games, Schwazer will abandon athletics for good right after because he is sickened and scared (by athletics),” Donati told Italian online newspaper Salto.
“If he changes his mind and goes on, I will be the one to tell him at that point: Alex, I will follow and support you all the way but it is better that I won’t keep on training you because otherwise this story will never have an end.”
Schwazer’s provisional ban was imposed shortly after he had finished a suspension of three years nine months after admitting he used the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) in 2012.
But he told a news conference in June that this time he had done nothing wrong and he suspected someone did not want him to go to the Rio Olympics, which start on Aug. 5.
His lawyer Gerhard Brandstaetter said Schwazer’s urine sample must have been tampered with and he has requested a DNA test on the sample. The lawyer has also filed a complaint with Italy’s public prosecutor citing sporting fraud.
Schwazer, who won the world 50km title in Rome this year, asked CAS to treat his appeal as an urgent request but this was dismissed and sport’s highest court has instead initiated an expedited arbitration procedure to rule on the case.
The deadline for Olympic entries was July 18 but the Italian National Olympic Committee included Schwazer in the country’s squad for the Games subject to the outcome of the appeal to CAS.
Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdynia; editing by Ken Ferris