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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Romanian Jumps for Adopted Germany

BONN -- A shot fired at a demonstration on the streets of Bucharest turned the life of high jumper Alina Astafei upside down.

The bullet killed the Olympic silver medalist's only brother, Petre, in December 1989 and persuaded Astafei to leave Romania and take up citizenship in Germany.

Even as she prepares to represent her adopted country at the world outdoor championships for the first time next month, Astafei is still living with the after-effects of that sad day when her 22-year-old brother lost his life.

For many athletes the, G?thenburg championships will be a dress rehearsal for next year's Olympic Games. For Astafei, 26, they will have to replace the real thing.

Romania, worried that more athletes may leave for the West, has refused to give her permission to compete in a German vest at the Atlanta Games.

While the high jumper can compete in other championships, regulations prevent her from taking part at Olympic level within three years of taking new citizenship without the agreement of the Romanian Olympic committee.

Astafei had already endured a 10-month ban from the Romanians in 1994 after she refused to compete for the country following her move to Germany in October 1993. The Romanians had originally imposed a three-year ban but lifted it in January this year.

Her reaction to the original ban from all official competitions had been frustration.

"Athletes who take drugs get two years and I get three without doing anything," she said. "For years, nobody in Romania was interested in me. Now that I am leaving, they suddenly appear."

Now Astafei is just pleased to have the support of the Germans as she rescues her athletics career. In her first appearance in German colors, she won gold at the world indoor championships in Barcelona last March.

"It was very important for me to win this title in my first appearance for Germany," she said. "It is a good feeling to have Germany's backing.

"During the unrest in Bucharest, my brother was killed in the street. That was an important reason for me to leave."

Astafei's move to Germany is not a short-term decision. The high jumper has learned German quickly and found a job with the regional sports authorities near Mainz where she trains under Romanian exile coach Dan Vladescu.

During her ban last year, Astafei worked hard on her technical faults.

Already blessed with Olympic champion Heike Henkel, Germany now has its strongest high jump team in years. The German athletics federation and Olympic committee have still not given up hope of getting her on the plane to Atlanta next year.


In London, British runner Diane Modahl won the right to put forward late new evidence in her appeal against a four-year doping ban.

But there was no outcome from the six-hour hearing Monday and while evidence was scheduled to end Tuesday, a verdict may be delayed until Friday.

The British Athletic Federation had requested an adjournment so its experts could consider the new evidence fully.

But the appeal panel rejected the BAF request and decided to consider the evidence, and the hearing went on.

Modahl, 29, was banned last year after tests revealed she had 42 times the legal amount of testosterone in her urine samples taken at a meeting in Lisbon in June.

She claimed the samples were contaminated in Lisbon and that the testing procedures were flawed.

The results weren't relayed to the BAF until 9 1/2 weeks after the tests were taken when Modahl was about to defend her 800-meters title at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada. She was sent home from the Games.

Modahl, who is expecting a baby in October, said nothing when she left the hearing with her husband and coach Vicente who shook his head when asked how the session had gone.

Last month, the International Amateur Athletic Federation agreed to allow Modahl to have an unprecedented third sample tested.

The IAAF is still happy with its tests.

"We are 100 percent confident in our testing procedure and indeed in the procedure used by the Lisbon laboratory," said general secretary Istvan Guylai.

(Reuters, AP)