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Since 1st March, 1999
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Two-year ban on Garcia

Madrid: European 5,000 metres indoor record-holder Alberto Garcia received a two-year ban from the Spanish Athletics Federation on Tuesday following his positive test for the blood-boosting drug EPO (erythropoietin).

The Spaniard, who recorded the positive test at the world cross country championships in Lausanne in March, will now miss next year’s Olympic Games in Athens and will not be allowed to compete again until June 2005.

The 32-year-old has made a name for himself on the international circuit over the course of the last three seasons and broke the long-standing European 5,000 metres indoor record in February this year, a mark that had stood for 27 years. Garcia, who is also the reigning European 3,000 metre indoor champion, has denied taking any performance-enhancing drug.

Veron told to get in shape

London: Argentine star Juan Sebastian Veron has been ordered to get himself in shape after being axed by Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri. The 28-year-old, who cost Chelsea £15 million from Manchester United, has been ordered to do extra training sessions this week after being left out of the squad which won at Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Ranieri is ‘unhappy’ with the midfielder’s level of fitness, following his dreadful second-half display in their Champions League defeat by Turkish side Besiktas last week. The Italian has told Veron he is not in the same sort of shape that made him a superstar at Lazio.

Clash of veterans

Bangkok: Former Liverpool stars will take on Brazilian footballing veterans here next week as part of an Asian tour of golden oldies, organisers said on Tuesday. The Liverpool side will feature legends including Kenny Dalgleish, Ian Rush and John Barnes, while Brazilian giants Flamengo will include Zico and Bebeto. The teams play on Monday, after last taking each other on 22-years-ago, when the Brazilians beat the English in the Toyota Cup in Tokyo.

Bryan Robson is Nigeria coach

Abuja: Former England skipper Bryan Robson has been named Nigeria coach for next January’s African Nations Cup in Tunisia. “Robson was the most suitable of the four coaches that NFA officials discussed with while they were in England last week,” a top official said.

Robson will sign an initial six-month contract which will be renewed if he can produce results.

Salas baffled

Buenos Aires: Chile striker Marcelo Salas says he is baffled after sustaining yet another thigh strain. Salas limped out of River Plate’s 3-0 Argentine league win at home to Olimpo after only two minutes on Sunday in only his second match since returning to action following a thigh problem.

To add to his frustration, he was made captain on Sunday for the first time.

Clijsters recovery

Filderstadt (Germany): World No. 1 Kim Clijsters said she is recovering from the ankle injury she suffered last month as she puts her world No. 1 on the line in the WTA meet this week. “I am not 100 per cent in shape, but the ankle gets better every day,” Clijsters said .

Sport on Screen

Cricket: India vs New Zealand first Test, Day I live from 9.30 am on DD Sports
Cricket: Pakistan vs South Africa, 3rd ODI, highlights from 1.30 pm on TEN Sports
Soccer: Uefa Champions League Extra from 3.30 pm on ESPN

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