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Thanou wins on sprinting return

3 February 2007

Disgraced Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou qualified for the European Indoor Championships on her first run since her ban at the 2004 Olympics.

The 32-year-old was suspended for two years after allegedly missing three drugs tests before the Athens Games.

Her ban expired in December and on Saturday she won the 60m at the Greek Indoor Championships in 7.28 seconds.

Last month her lawyer said she would use the Greek event to prepare for the Europeans in Birmingham from 2-4 March.

Thanou's time, although outside her personal best of 6.96 seconds, was well within the qualification mark.

"I'm very pleased to compete once again," she said. "I'm not happy or unhappy about my time, all I wanted was to be on starting line again."

"I never stopped training, all I could think about was returning."

The former World and European Indoor champion was suspended on the eve of the 2004 Olympics along with teammate Kostas Kenteris.

Since her ban expired, Thanou, who also won silver at the 2000 Olympics, has been under close watch by the drug control agency Wada, who have tested her four times in the last month.

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