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IAAF panel rescinds ban on Germany's Krabbe


BERLIN -- Katrin Krabbe, the German sprinter who produced world championships in 100 and 200 meters with ease, was cleared yesterday of drug manipulation charges by an International Amateur Athletic Federation panel in London.

"I'm overwhelmed. I'm happy," she said. "I had to wait 15 minutes for the translation before I realized I am free."

Krabbe and two other world-class runners, Grit Breur and Silke Moeller, allegedly had offered identical urine samples at a training camp in South Africa in January.

The German track and field federation first banned the three women for four years then rescinded the ban because of the possibility the samples could have been tampered with on the long flight from South Africa to Germany, where they were tested.

The IAAF panel reportedly felt it had to leave the German decision stand.

The three women are free to try to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. The German track federation has allowed them a two-week training period before their final opportunity to qualify on July 18 and 19.

Two weeks ago, Krabbe ran the 100 meters in a slow 11.70 seconds in her first meet since the charges were levied against her.

She walked away saying she was psychologically drained and unprepared to run. It was her worst time in three years and far off the 11.25 seconds she ran at the world championships in Tokyo.

"She can run much better than she has shown," said her trainer, Thomas Springstein, who was accused with the women in the doping- manipulation case.

Krabbe had been steadfast in denying any guilt.

"I have not doped and I have not manipulated," she told a German interviewer just after her last race.

On the line with her chances at Barcelona is about $2.8 million in sponsors fees. Krabbe, a product of the defunct communist East German sports program, had been the most marketable of the German athletes.

Krabbe, 22, grew up in the East German sports system. She was just 13 when she moved into the dormitory of the sports club in her hometown Neubrandenberg.

"She is a history of East German sports," said Jurgen Holz, a sportswriter in East Germany for 25 years.

That history may be ended but about half of the German team at Barcelona this year will be athletes from the former East Germany, even more if those who moved from the East to West Germany are counted.

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