Paralympic powerlifter's lifetime ban overturned after nine years
Gunduz Ismayilov, a Paralympic powerlifter from Azerbaijan, had his lifetime ban lifted on Friday, nine years after it was handed down, after proving his former girlfriend spiked his drink with an anabolic steroid before the 2004 Games in Athens, according to the Associated Press.
The International Paralympic Committee said it was able to review the case despite nine years having passed because Ismayilov had "new and very relevant evidence."
"This is a very unique case with a unique set of circumstances," Toni Pascual, chair of the IPC anti-doping committee, said in a statement.
Ismayilov, who served a two-year ban for testing positive for the steroid nandrolone after winning the gold medal at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, was given the lifetime ban for testing positive for stanozolol before the 2004 Games.
The IPC said Ismayilov's former partner, an athlete who competed in Athens, admitted in court she sabotaged his drink at the Paralympic Village in 2004.
"The two had separated in 2003, and although they had remained on good terms, she had spiked the drink as a form of punishment," the Paralympics body said, adding that her admission "only came about following an investigation spearheaded by the athlete and his lawyer to prove his innocence."