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Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Friday, 14 March 2008

Drugs cheat Lombard quits running

Cathal Lombard
Lombard after his shock win at the Irish Cross Country Championship

Self-confessed drugs cheat Cathal Lombard has announced his retirement from competitive athletics.

The 32-year-old from Cork made his decision just a fortnight after he claimed a shock win at the Irish Cross Country Championships in Belfast.

Lombard had indicated that he intended to achieve the qualifying time for the Olympic Games in Beijing.

He was punished with a two-year ban on the eve of the 2004 Athens Olympics after using banned blood booster EPO.

Little was subsequently heard about Lombard until his Belfast victory.

That earned the Leevale athlete an offer from Athletics Ireland to compete at this month's World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, but he turned it down.

606: DEBATE

The Olympic Council of Ireland were to take legal advice on its options concerning Lombard's possible qualification for the Beijing Games.

As is the case with the vast majority of national Olympic associations, the Irish federation does not have a lifetime Olympic ban for athletes who have failed drugs tests.

This is in contrast to British Olympic Association rules which currently bar the likes of Dwain Chambers from competing in the Games.

In a brief statement Lombard confirmed his "retirement from competitive athletics" and he thanked those who supported him "over many years".

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see also
Officials seek advice on Lombard
03 Mar 08 |  Athletics
Lombard pulls off a surprise win
01 Mar 08 |  Athletics


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