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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 03:31 GMT

Belarus skater escapes ban

The International Olympic Committee has issued Yulia Pavlovich with a "severe warning" after she failed to attend a doping test.

The Belarus had been threatened with an Olympic ban after she disappeared from the Olympic village.

However, the IOC did ban Tatiana Pavlovich, the short track speed skater's coach and mother from the Games.

Dr. Evgeny Lositsky, the Belarus team doctor, was also excluded for his part in the affair.

IOC media director Francois Carrard said that Pavlocich "was much more manipulated thatn manipulating" in the case.

Pavlovich failed to report for a drugs test earlier in the week and then went missing, before returning to the athletes village on Thursday

The call for that test came after her first sample was found to contain the banned steroid nandrolone.

The test had shown 380 times the permitted level of nandrolone - but the test was invalid because the sample had not been properly sealed.

As a result the IOC was forced to order a second test which is when Pavlovich went missing.

Prior to Pavlovich's appearance before the IOC the Belarus Olympic committee had been punished for allegedly helping the athlete avoid the second exam.

Team chief Yaroslav Barichko was suspended and annual grants and other support worth about $120,000 had been withdrawn for the rest of the year.

Despite the controversy, the Salt Lake City Games is still without its first doping case as Pavlovich's tests were never completed.

The athlete's urine sample was not properly sealed because it was broken by a lab courier in an apparent accident.

According to Carrard, it was for this reason that officials decided the athlete had not technically failed a drug test.

Pavlovich finished 19th in the 1,500m and 23rd in the 500m.

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