WADA loses appeal to increase Hardy suspension

Updated: May 21, 2010, 23:40 PM IST

New York: World record holder Jessica Hardy has been cleared to continue swimming after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lost an appeal to increase the American`s ban from one to two years.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said Friday they had dismissed WADA`s appeal to double the suspension, agreeing with an earlier ruling from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to impose a reduced 12-month ban.

Hardy, a world record holder in breaststroke, has already served a one-year suspension after testing positive for the banned steroid clenbuterol at the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials, which normally carries a two-year ban.

The AAA agreed to reduce it to one year when Hardy explained she took nutritional supplements after having obtained assurances from the manufacturer.

WADA asked that the ban be increased to two years but a CAS panel of arbitrators ruled that the AAA penalty should stand.

"They agreed that Jessica Hardy had shown good faith efforts before ingesting the food supplements at stake," CAS said in a statement explaining their decision.

"The athlete had personal conversations with the manufacturer about the supplements` purity prior to taking them, she obtained the supplements directly from the manufacturer, not from an unknown source; supplements she took were not labelled in a manner which might have raised suspicions."

Hardy voluntarily withdrew from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and returned to swimming last year after completing her ban, reclaiming her world record in the 100 metres.

But the 23-year-old is still unsure whether she can compete at the 2012 Olympics in London after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced a strict new rule that athletes suspended for six months or more automatically miss the next Olympics.

CAS rejected Hardy`s request that the IOC be added to this arbitration hearing and declined to make any recommendation on the 2012 games.

Bureau Report