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  Friday, 16 August, 2002, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Baxter wins ban appeal
Baxter in the Olympic slalom
Alain Baxter was stripped of his Olympic bronze
British skier Alain Baxter has won an appeal against the ban imposed by the International Ski Federation, after he failed a drugs test at this year's Winter Olympics.

The skier was stripped of his bronze medal but has protested his innocence, blaming the test result on an American version of a nasal inhaler.

Now the Court of Arbitration in Sport has upheld his appeal against the way the Federation calculated the length of his suspension.

It means the ban will now end on Sunday 18 August instead of 15 December.

Baxter will now be able to compete in the first race of the northern hemisphere World Cup season, which begins in October.


This is the first step on the route to justice
Alain Baxter

His appeal against the International Olympic Committee's decision to strip him of his bronze medal will still be heard at the beginning of September.

Baxter, who is training in Austria, said: "I am delighted.

"This is the first step on the route to justice. Training has been going really well and this decision means that I can look forward to an immediate return to racing."

Top condition

Fiona McNeilly, operations director of the British Ski and Snowboard Federation, said the decision to reduce the ban was fantastic news.

"What it means is that he can get back to racing right from the start of the season, he won't miss out on the first World Cup," she added.

"It's very important having established himself among the world's elite that he keeps himself there and to do that, you've really got to be present at every race and trying for top results."

Baxter's spokesman, John Clark, said: "The issue here wasn't a doping one but how the ban had been calculated.

"The last race of the season was at the end of April and Alain had been banned from February 23, and then the season resumed again in July.

"So taking those two periods into account, he has served the ban.

"The great thing is that throughout all of this, Alain has kept his head down and focused on what he needs to do to make sure he keeps in top condition."

See also:

21 Mar 02 | Alpine Skiing
05 Mar 02 | Alpine Skiing
05 Mar 02 | Alpine Skiing
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