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Chouki fails dope test

Paris: France’s 1,500 metres specialist Fouad Chouki failed a dope test for the banned blood-boosting substance erythropoietin (EPO) at last month’s world championships in Paris, sports daily L’Equipe said on Saturday.

The former French record holder was tested on the day of the men’s final on August 27, L’Equipe said. Testing on the B sample is under way.

However Nick Davies, a spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations, said: “We are not prepared to comment at this stage of the proceedings.”

Although the test has not been officially confirmed, the 24-year-old Chouki faces a two-year ban if found guilty, which would rule him out of next year’s Olympics in Athens.

Coventry-Ravanelli deal off

London: English first division side Coventry City on Friday pulled out of the deal to sign veteran striker Fabrizio Ravanelli. The club accused the 34-year-old Italian of stalling over putting pen to paper on a deal with the Midlands club where he had been training this week. Coventry said Ravanelli, who played at Derby County for the last two seasons, had passed a medical and agreed terms but interest from Scottish side Dundee put the brakes on the Highfield Road deal. "Coventry City has withdrawn its interest in Fabrizio Ravanelli after talks with the former Italian international broke down," said a club statement.

Roy Jones’ plans

Washington: Roy Jones is planning to relinquish his WBA heavyweight title for a tilt at light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. “Jones is going to fight Tarver, with the fight details announced at a press conference on Saturday,” said Kelly Swanson, spokesperson for several different boxing organisations in Washington on Friday.

The fight is slated for November 8 in Las Vegas, the date and place already pencilled in for Jones to meet South African Corrie Sanders.

Amputee Parry cleared to play

San Jose (California): American college football player Neil Parry, whose right leg was amputated almost three years ago, is expected to return to the field on Thursday when the Spartans host Nevada in a Western Athletic Conference game. Parry, of San Jose State, has undergone 25 surgical procedures since he was injured on a kick-off in the third quarter of a game against Texas-El Paso on October 14, 2000. The original diagnosis was a compound fracture of the right leg. Serious infections occured and the leg was amputated 18 centimeters below the right knee nine days later.

“Based on his four weeks of practice, Neil has earned a spot on our special teams,” San Jose State coach Fitz Hill said. “He will play on the punt return unit.”

Witch power

Bucharest: Romanian witches are cursing Swiss referee Urs Meier to turn him lame and make him lose his whistling power after their country’s Euro 2004 hopes were dashed against Denmark.

Romania, who needed a win in Copenhagen last Wednesday to ensure at least a playoff place for the finals in Portugal, conceded a goal in the fifth minute of injury time Meier added on at the end of the qualifier.

“Seven witches of Craiova city cursed Meier to lose his capacity to whistle, to be lame in his legs and feel pain in his soul,” media reported on Saturday.

Sport on Screen

Tennis: Legend: Kim Clijsters from 11.30 pm on TEN Sports
Formula One: Italian GP live from 5.15 pm on STAR Sports
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