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13-year-old kart driver appeals doping ban
GENEVA (AP) - Branded a doping cheat at age 13, a kart driver is appealing a two-year ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“He was very famous in Poland and, one day after, he was a criminal child,” Lehner said in a telephone interview. “He has good chances to go to a career in motor sport, and now with a two-year ban it’s finished.”
The FIA did not respond to requests for comment on the case.
“He has a lot of talent,” Lehner said. “The father pushed him, this is normal in sport, but the father doesn’t push him in doping.”
Walilko won the Polish junior title in 2009. He competed in Germany last season, piloting 125cc engines in KF3 class races. At the Ampfing circuit on July 18, he finished second in a 24-lap race, reaching speeds of 55 mph.
German organizers took a urine sample after the race, and it showed traces of nikethamide. The World Anti-Doping Agency classifies nikethamide as a specified substance that allows for explanations of accidental use _ if an athlete proves how it was consumed.
“A 12-year-old boy is not able to remember what he eats the whole day,” Lehner said. “Maybe he gets it from some friends, we don’t know.”
The World Anti-Doping Code states that cases “involving a minor shall be considered a particularly serious violation,” but also points out that “certainly youth and lack of experience are relevant factors to be assessed.”
The FIA anti-doping panel looked at Walilko’s case in Paris last October before imposing the two-year ban.
“Yes, he knows doping is forbidden … (but) for a 12-year-old child it’s not easy to understand complicated rules,” said Lehner, a specialist in sports doping cases.
By Donald Lambro
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