CONI requests doping bans for 26 members of athletics team
ROME (AP) The Italian Olympic Committee requested two-year doping bans Wednesday for 26 track and field athletes – several of whom are slated to compete at next year's Rio de Janeiro Games.
The list includes Fabrizio Donato, the bronze medalist in triple jump at the 2012 London Olympics, and Andrew Howe, the silver medalist in long jump at the 2007 world championships; distance runner Daniele Meucci; and sprinter Simone Collio.
All 26 are accused of evading doping tests but maintain there was an administrative error. They will face trials at CONI's anti-doping court, with decisions expected sometime next year.
''What I've been accused of is not a doping case but rather problems of availability for the Whereabouts system,'' hammer thrower Silvia Salis said, according to the ANSA news agency. ''The only thing I can say is that the system had technical flaws.''
Five of the 26 had already qualified for Rio while about 10 have retired, including pole vaulter Giuseppe Gibilisco.
Alex Schwazer, the gold medalist in 50-kilometer race walk at the 2008 Beijing Olympics who was banned previously, was among 39 athletes cleared in this case.
CONI acted following an investigation by prosecutors in Bolzano.
''Placing the blame only on the athletes for what happened is too simple,'' Italian Athletics Federation president Alfio Giomi said. ''The athlete is the starting and finishing point for the entire movement but in between there are coaches, clubs, the federation and CONI. We all have to assume our responsibility.''
This story has been corrected to show that Schwazer was cleared.
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf