Dominguez focused after doping clearance

Madrid: Spain`s world steeplechase champion Marta Dominguez said she could now focus on returning to competition after being cleared of two of three charges in a doping probe.

A Spanish judge this week dismissed a charge against the 35-year-old of administering drugs to a training partner without a prescription.

A separate accusation of supplying a banned substance was dropped in April. She remains under investigation for alleged tax irregularities.

Facing the media for the first time since being cleared of two charges, a tense Dominguez refused to answer some questions and gave evasive answers to others.

She repeated her denial of any wrongdoing and said she would focus now on preparing for the Olympic Games in London next year.

"An extremely grave error was made but I am not going to blame anyone," Dominguez told reporters at the Spanish Olympic Committee`s headquarters in Madrid. "I am not really sure what happened, I never did anything

One of Spain`s best-known athletes, Dominguez was a vice president of the country`s athletics federation (RFEA) until she was caught up in the doping probe, known as "Operation Greyhound", in December.

She was one of 14 people taken in for questioning by Spain`s Civil Guard suspected of involvement in the trafficking of drugs and crimes against public health.

Sports doctors, pharmacists, coaches and other figures from the athletics world were also detained.

"It has been a very difficult situation," said Dominguez, who competes with a trademark pink headband and matching running shoes and who gave birth to her first child in May.

"Mental strength, perseverence and my family have kept me alive and I am still thinking about getting back into shape after having a son and preparing for the Olympics."

Dominguez denied Spain had a more serious problem with doping than other countries and said authorities were fighting hard to stamp out the use of banned substances.

"What happens here in Spain is that the issue of doping is very sensational and it seems to sell well," she said.

"If people saw how many doping controls Spanish athletes submitted to they would be amazed. People should look at their own countries and leave Spain in peace."

Dominguez may still be sanctioned by Spain`s government sports council, which could put her participation in the Olympics in jeopardy.

Bureau Report

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