Two-year competition ban imposed on Estonian wrestler

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Heiki Nabi. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The disciplinary board of the Estonian Center for Integrity in Sports (ESTCIS) has found Heiki Nabi, silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics and winner of several other medals at top-level competitions, guilty of violating anti-doping rules and imposed on him a two-year competition ban.

Nabi's competition ban was confirmed by head of the disciplinary board Margus Mugu. He told ERR: "We reached a decision quite quickly and the decision was unanimous. No one had any doubts."

Nabi's doping scandal erupted in February this year when the banned substance letrozole was found in his body. The wrestler's B sample also showed traces of the substance in April.

The athlete has not been able to explain precisely how the substance got into his body and has said it was accidental contamination. In May this year, he submitted a written explanation to the Disciplinary Board.

Today's announcement came as a surprise to the wrestler and his team.

"After the meeting last Friday, after hearing the views of all three highly respected experts in this case, we were all positive. I was convinced that the Commission now also understands that the so-called forbidden finding was accidental contamination," Nabi told ERR.

Nabi can now appeal the decision at the International Sports Court and the wrestler intends to do so. He said, looking at other cases, athletes who test positive with higher amounts of banned substances have been suspended for months not years.

"Today, a lot of people still don't understand what happened, what was done and why. We have to appeal and fight."

However, it is unlikely a conclusion will be reached before the Tokyo Olympics this summer meaning Nabi will be unable to compete.

He said: "But in sport, there are often impossible situations where you have to believe the impossible. I hope for miracles and will see how it goes."

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Editor: Helen Wright

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