Pubdate: Mon, 14 Feb 2000
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2000, Newsday Inc.
Contact:  (516)843-2986
Author: Associated Press


ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Javier Sotomayor has been dropped from a meet in
Greece following a decision to suspend him from international competition
for failing a cocaine test.

Sotomayor, the Cuban world indoor and outdoor record-holder, was to compete
at an indoor high jump meet Tuesday. But the International Amateur Athletic
Federation on Saturday suspended Sotomayor and five other athletes
suspected of drug use. Their cases have been sent to arbitration.

"The issue is completely clear. The international federation decided that
athletes who have such loose ends will not compete," said Vassilis
Sevastis, president of Greece's track and field federation.

Sotomayor said the latest IAAF ruling caught him by surprise.

"I don't understand why the IAAF changed the decision that it took last
November," he said from Havana. "For me, it is a new blow."

There was no immediate reaction from the Cuban government, which has
supported Sotomayor, one of the most popular athletes in the nation's
history. Cuba has said Sotomayor is innocent and has implied he was set up.

Sotomayor tested positive for cocaine before the Pan American Games in 1999
and could face a maximum two-year ban from competition.

High jumpers who played a key role in the sport, including Dick Fosbury,
whose "Fosbury Flop" revolutionized the event, will be honored at the meet.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D