By Agence France Presse
The Colombian government and its national Olympic committee announced plans to appeal the disqualification of track cyclist Maria Luisa Calle Williams after she tested positive for a stimulant following the women’s points race.
Calle Williams was stripped of her bronze medal in the event after testing positive for the stimulant Heptaminol. The bronze medal was then awarded to American Erin Mirabella, the only U.S. podium spot in an Olympic track event this year. Colombia earned just one other medal in the games, a bronze won by Mabel Mosquera in the 53kg category of women’s weightlifting.
Calle Williams, the Colombian government and the country’s Olympic committee plan to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In a press conference in Medellin on Tuesday, Calle Williams siad she would fight to restore her honor.
“I am innocent,” she said. “I don’t want Colombia to judge me harshly. When I was on the podium I was thinking solely of the joy I was bringing to my country. It is impossible to get back the bronze medal but the most important thing for me and for my country is that my reputation remains clean. I don’t want to be considered a cheat.”
The 35-year-old said she had taken Paracetamol for a headache but the pain remained and, after medical advice, took a drug called Neosaldina.
“The doctor knew all the banned substances and I took these drugs without any worries at all. We think that one of these products transformed itself in my body which unfortunately resulted in this positive test.”
Calle Williams will now undergo a series of tests in Bogota’s anti-doping laboratory to try and prove her good faith.