Sport Italy’s banned Olympian eyes medal in 2016

Italy’s banned Olympian eyes medal in 2016

Alex Schwazer won the 2008 50-kilometer race walking Olympic event
Alex Schwazer won the 2008 50-kilometer race walking Olympic event

A former Italian Olympic champion, who got banned for drug use, has announced his plans to make a comeback, his lawyer says.

Alex Schwazer, who won the 2008 50-kilometer race walking Olympic event, has started training again to realize his dream of competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Schwazer had said he would give up the sport when he was banned in September until January 2016 after testing positive for the illegal blood-booster drug EPO before the London Olympics.

However, his lawyer, Gerhard Brandstaetter, confirmed in a report to the Alto Adige weekly Ff, that the former champ was now planning a comeback. “Alex suffered a lot for the mistake he made. He paid a disproportionate price compared with other sinners,” Brandstaetter said.

“He is training and is in optimal physical condition,” he added.

Schwazer hopes also to reduce his disqualification period. He plans also to do social work rather than serve time in prison.

Doping is a criminal offence in Italy.

Prosecutors in the German-speaking region of Italy, who investigated the case, uncovered an alleged network that was allegedly complicit in Schwazer’s illicit drug use.

The criminal inquiry is due to conclude.

Next Thursday, Schwazer is due to be interrogated by an anti-doping prosecutor at the Italian Olympics Committee over charges that he also avoided and manipulated drug tests.

Schwazer has admitted to doping, but maintains he was clean when he won the Olympic title in Beijing.

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