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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Szabo must pay damages
Romania's Gabriela Szabo in action at the 2001 World Championships
Szabo (651) has won several middle-distance titles
Top Romanian athlete Gabriela Szabo has been found guilty of insulting a coach and ordered to pay about 7,000 in damages.

A court in Bucharest ruled last week that Szabo had slandered athletics coach Carmen Hodos when she accused Hodos of doping athletes.

And in a ruling published on Monday, the court ordered Szabo to pay Hodos 315m lei.

Prison threat

In Romania, communist-era laws on press offenses remain in effect, which has left courts swamped with civil and criminal cases of libel and slander.

Under the slander charges, Szabo could have been imprisoned for up to five years.

Long the darling of the Romanian Athletics Federation, Szabo is Romania's richest female athlete.

She won gold in the 5,000m and the bronze in the 1500m in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

In a separate libel case, Szabo and rival runner Violeta Szekely have sued each other for 105,000 after Szabo called her rival "ugly" and Szekely said Szabo was "hunched".

See also:

27 Aug 01 |  Athletics
Szabo takes time out
23 Aug 01 |  Athletics
Szabo faces Russian legal threat
11 Aug 01 |  World Athletics
Yegorova booed to 5,000m 'glory'
08 Aug 01 |  Our man at Edmonton
Szabo withdraws boycott threat
08 Aug 01 |  World Athletics
Sensational Szabo wins 1500m
06 Aug 01 |  Our man at Edmonton
A very ugly rivalry
Links to more Athletics stories are at the foot of the page.


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