by Bob Ramsak
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - Slovenian distance runner Helena Javornik, the national record holder in all events from the mile to the marathon, has been banned for two years by sport's highest court after testing positive for EPO.
The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an appeal submitted by the IAAF after the Slovenian Athletics Federation (ASZ) initially cleared Javornik last summer.
Javornik, 42, tested positive for EPO after the LCC Eisbarlauf Half-Marathon in Vienna in March, but she was cleared by the Slovenian Athletics Federation (AZS) on June 19 which described the laboratory process in Vienna as “well below the standards of WADA.” Last July, the IAAF appealed the federation’s ruling to CAS which effectively barred Javornik from competing at last Summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.
Javornik has maintained her innocence throughout the case but refused further comment today.
“I won’t comment on the CAS decision until we carefully study the 39-page decision,” Javornik told Slovenian National Television this evening.
Javornik, who didn’t begin training seriously until her mid-20s, has a marathon personal best of 2:27:33 from her victory at the ING Amsterdam Marathon in 2004. She won the 2002 title at the European Cross Country Championship, and was 10th in the 10,000m at the 2004 Olympics.
Javornik’s last marathon appearance was in Treviso, Italy, last March, which she won in 2:28:36.
Her two-year ban runs through June 10, 2010.