Hendricken's dietary supplements were found to be contaminated
Irish 1500 metre runner Geraldine Hendricken has been given a two-year suspension after being found guilty of a doping offence.
An out of competition drugs test in February uncovered 19-norandrosterone, a metabolite of a banned anabolic steroid.
Hendricken was provisionally suspended and following the examination of the B sample and a disciplinary hearing earlier this month, she has now been hit with the two-year ban.
The athlete's claim that her dietary supplement had been contaminated appears to have been vindicated by the Athletics Ireland judgement on the case.
Athletics Ireland commissioned the German Sports Institute in Cologne to conduct an analysis of these supplements.
The Cologne laboratory reported that the supplements contained an anabolic androgenic steroid, which could if taken, lead to a positive test for norandrosterone.
The disciplinary hearing took place on 4 September with Mel Christle, Jack Watson and Brendan Buckley sitting on the three-man committee.
The committee concluded that a doping offence had occurred within the rules and recommended that a two-year suspension be imposed.
This was confirmed by Athletics Ireland which means that Hendricken will be banned until 6 March 2005.
The athlete insists that she was totally unaware she was taking any banned substance but rules state the competitors are responsible for what is in their bodies.
Hendricken produced a remarkable season in 2002 and was ranked 14th in the world in the 1500m.
The Carlow woman is the first Irish athlete to have failed a drugs test involving an anabolic steroid.
Hendricken has yet to comment on her ban and, at 33-years of age, it must be doubtful whether she will return to international competition when her suspension elapses.
Meanwhile, Irish athlete Mark Carroll has been ruled out of this year's New York Marathon because of a hip injury.