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Australian Eadie re-nominated for Olympics

Former world sprint cycling champion Sean Eadie was re-nominated to compete for Australia at the Olympics on Wednesday, two days after drugs allegations against him were dismissed. His reinstatement to the Games team is now expected to be a formality. Eadie was cleared by Australia's Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday night of trying to import banned human growth hormones. He was dropped from the Athens line-up when the drug trafficking claims emerged two weeks ago but has fiercely maintained his innocence since. Eadie was replaced on the proposed cycling team by 22-year-old Ben

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By Agence France Presse

Former world sprint cycling champion Sean Eadie was re-nominated to compete for Australia at the Olympics on Wednesday, two days after drugs allegations against him were dismissed.

His reinstatement to the Games team is now expected to be a formality.

Eadie was cleared by Australia’s Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday night of trying to import banned human growth hormones.

He was dropped from the Athens line-up when the drug trafficking claims emerged two weeks ago but has fiercely maintained his innocence since.

Eadie was replaced on the proposed cycling team by 22-year-old Ben Kersten, who was dropped Wednesday when Cycling Australia officials reinstated Eadie’s nomination.

Kersten immediately lodged an appeal which is expected to be heard Friday.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) told AFP it had received the nomination notice from cycling officials and expected to make an announcement later Wednesday.

Eadie, 35, a former world sprint champion and sprint bronze medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said he was relieved to be clear of the doping scandal which has marred the Australian Olympic team’s preparations for Athens.

He said nothing in Athens could compare with the pressure he had been under in recent weeks.

“It’s been a long and arduous process that we embarked upon and we’ve jumped many hurdles and we’re very relieved to have jumped the last hurdle,” Eadie told reporters.

“I’m looking forward now to resuming training, and nothing but training, to go to Athens and go and bring back a nice medal for the boys.”

Eadie has criticized officials for being too quick to drop him from the team before he could defend himself in court.

The Australian Customs Service said it intercepted a package containing 16 illegal tablets mailed to Eadie from California five years ago. The cyclist denies ordering them and claims the banned substances could have been added to his shipment of approved nutritional supplements for being a “good customer.”

A spokesman for Smart Nutrition, the San Diego firm which sent the supplements to Eadie, conceded free samples of products are often included in packages shipped overseas.

“Well, we send these products all over the world, this is the first I’ve heard of it today. If in fact it is illegal to send it to Australia then we will not send it to Australia,” Jeff Charles told commercial television.

Eadie said the link between his name and drugs may have damaged his reputation. His manager Kerry Ruffels said Eadie may sue the AOC for lost income after losing a $150,000 ($109,000 U.S.) contract with an unnamed sponsor within hours of being cleared of the drug claims.

Ruffels said the cyclist could be eligible for compensation if it was found that the contract was cancelled because of unsubstantiated drugs allegations. “When you do lose a sponsor and if it is a direct result of actions or what’s happened, all concerning the one issue, obviously there are good grounds for some sort of action and some sort of compensation,” he told ABC radio. “There has to be. I mean it’s not like Sean is 22 years of age and still has another 10 years ahead of him.”