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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 May, 2003, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Szabo in drugs storm
Gabriela Szabo
Szabo was not in the car when the drugs were found
Romanian Olympic 5,000m gold medallist Gabriela Szabo may quit athletics after French border police found a banned substance in her car.

Police stopped a car owned by Szabo and driven by a family friend during a routine patrol on the motorway at La Turbie, a village overlooking Monaco.

They seized medical products confirmed this week as the performance-enhancing drug Actovegin.

The drug is a derivative of calf serum used to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.

Szabo, who was not in the car, says she is worried that her reputation will suffer even though she knew nothing about the drugs.

The six-times world champion was with her coach in Amsterdam when the incident occurred, returning from a month's training in South Africa.

"I'm feeling terrible, I never felt so hunted in my life," Szabo said on Thursday.

"I'm so upset at what has happened that I'm considering giving up my sport.

"Our family friend who drove my car told me that Actovegin was sent by a Romanian physiotherapist for Mihaela Botezan, who is in the team as 5,000m and 10,000m runner," said Szabo.

On Wednesday, Botezan confirmed that Actovegin was recommended and sent for her.

Romanian athletics authorities said on Thursday Botezan might be automatically suspended for two years.




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