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BBC Sport's Iain Carter
"The tribunal accepted Chela did not knowingly take the substance"
 real 14k

"It was a tough but fair decision"
 real 14k

Monday, 9 April, 2001, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Chela suspended over drugs test
Chela: "This has been a tremendous tragedy"
Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela has been suspended from professional tennis for three months and thrown out of the world's top 500 for doping.

The 21-year-old, who finished 67th in the world in December 2000, must forfeit all ranking points accumulated over the past eight months.

It has been devastating to my career.
  Juan Ignacio Chela

He must also concede the $8,550 earned at the 2000 Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati, where he tested positive for methyltestosterone, a prohibited steroid under the anti-doping rules.

The loss of points means he will drop from his current ranking of 76 to outside the top 500 when his suspension ends at the beginning of July.

A tennis anti-doping tribunal concluded that Chela, who represented Argentina at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, did not knowingly take the steroid.

Tough but fair

A disappointed Chela said: "For me, this has been a tremendous tragedy, as over the past eight months I already have been through some very rough times.

"It has been devastating to my career.

"All my hard work has been virtually wiped away by the forfeiture of points, and I now must sit out three months before returning to play the lower-level pro events that I believed were behind me."

Mark Miles, who is CEO of the ATP, said: "It's a tough yet fair decision given the circumstances.

"It demonstrates again that our anti-doping programme is effective in both identifying violators and punishing them appropriately."

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