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SYDNEY 2000 SUMMER OLYMPICS | NOTES

Ugandan Athlete Accused of Assault

September 23, 2000|From Times Wire Services

A Ugandan athlete at the Sydney Olympics was still missing today after a warrant was issued for his arrest following the alleged sexual assault of a teenage girl.

The International Olympic Committee said it was working with Ugandan officials at the Games to persuade the athlete, who has disappeared from the Olympic village, to turn himself in to police.

"We hope he will surrender," IOC Director General Francois Carrard said.

A spokeswoman for Games organizers SOCOG said police had the suspect's passport and Olympic accreditation. The athlete has not been named.

Police said they were hunting a 23-year-old Olympic athlete from an undisclosed country in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl in a western suburb of Sydney on Wednesday.

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Accusations that American officials failed to disclose details of more than a dozen positive drug cases are "absurd," the head of USA Track & Field said.

Arne Ljungqvist, the chief anti-doping official of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, accused the U.S. association of withholding information on 12 to 15 positive samples in the last two years.

Under IAAF rules, national federations are required to notify the governing body of any positive tests and report on any sanctions taken.

"They conduct their tests like all the other federations and are supposed to report back to us when they make positive findings," Ljungqvist said. "They have not done so."

Craig Masback, executive director of USATF, said Ljungqvist is wrong.

"It's absolutely absurd," he said. "We have reported, reported regularly and reported comprehensively every detail of our drug testing program.

"I find it bizarre. If it's so important, how come he is not even sure what the number [of alleged positive cases] is. Is it 12, 13 or 15?"

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French 400-meter star Marie-Jose Perec, who fled the Olympics, arrived in Paris early Friday and was whisked off to an undisclosed location.

Perec and her American companion, Anthuan Maybank, left Singapore late Thursday on an Air France flight that arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport around dawn.

Perec left Sydney on Wednesday, reportedly saying she had been accosted by an unidentified man in her hotel room.

Lofti Ibareodi, a passenger in the first class cabin in which Perec traveled, said the athlete appeared calm.

Perec did not disembark with other passengers and was apparently met on the tarmac by airport officials. Her immediate whereabouts were not known.

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Weightlifting's world governing body said there was no question of Bulgaria's disgraced lifting team paying a $50,000 fine to gain readmission to the Olympic Games.

The powerful Bulgarian weightlifting team was booted out of the Games after three of their athletes, who between them won gold, silver and bronze in Sydney, tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide.

But unlike the Romanians, who were kicked out for doping offenses last weekend and then readmitted, the Bulgarians were not allowed to pay a $50,000 fine to get back in.

Tamas Ajan, the general secretary for the International Weightlifting Federation, said the difference was the Romanians failed out-of-competition IWF tests while the Bulgarians had failed IOC tests during the Olympics.

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NBC's TV ratings for the Olympics did not get a big boost from the women's all-around gymnastics competition.

Thursday night's program, from 8 p.m. to midnight, scored a national rating of 14.9 with a 26 share, slightly higher than the previous night's 14.6/25.

But it was much lower than the equivalent day drew in the last three Summer Games--44% lower than Atlanta in 1996, 33% lower than Barcelona in 1992, and 26% lower than Seoul in 1988.

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