Italy’s Olympic chiefs have called for two-year bans for 26 of its athletes for failing to provide doping samples.
The country’s National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) has accused the athletes of evading doping controls or failing to be available for them.
The list includes Fabrizio Donato, the 2012 European triple jump champion and Olympic bronze medallist from the London Games.
At a hastily arranged press conference Donato said: “I am really sad and disheartened, I never imagined something like this could happen. I have been accused of avoiding controls, I want to laugh. It is ten/12 years that every day of my life is spent between my house, the track and my house again. So I don’t understand how I can possibly avoid checks.”
Also among the list of athletes was Andrew Howe, who won the European long jump title in 2006 and a world silver medal the following year.
The 26 now face trials at the Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping court in a bid to clear their name.