Spanish athlete protests innocence over drugs probe

Madrid: World steeplechase champion Marta Dominguez, who is suspected of trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs, insisted Wednesday she was innocent after being questioned in court over the allegations.

“I have never trafficked doping substances, I have never profited from this. I am innocent and in my house police did not find anything,” she told reporters after leaving the court hearing in the Spanish capital.

The 35-year-old, who won 3,000m steeplechase gold in Berlin in 2009 after taking silver in the 5,000m in 2003 and 2001, arrived at the court accompanied by her husband and a lawyer.

She said she was implicated in the investigation into sports doping because of telephone wiretaps without giving further information.

Dominguez was one of 14 people detained by police on December 9 as part of the investigation into sports doping dubbed “Operation Greyhound”.

Police searched her home in Palencia in northern Spain but she was released the same evening.

Six of the 14 detained suspects were charged with public health offences andtrafficking in illegal substances, including Dominguez’ coach Cezar Perez. Dominguez herself has not been formally charged.

Among the people charged is Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes who was implicated in another major investigation into doping, the 2006 “Operation Puerto” which focused on cyclists.

Dominguez, who is four months pregnant with her first child, said she planned to return to competition once she recovers from her pregnancy.

She had already said that she would not defend her world title in the 2011 event in the South Korean city of Daegu because of her pregnancy but intended to return the following year to compete in the London Olympics.

Dominguez has been suspended as one of the four vice presidents of Spain’s athletics federation while the investigation is underway.

Bureau Report

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