Baggaley banned until 2007

By Ian Monaghan

Byron Bay world champion kayaker Nathan Baggaley has been banned for 15 months for the use of performance enhancing drugs.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) late last night found Baggaley guilty after he tested positive to stanozolol and methandienone in drug tests conducted more than three months ago.

The 29-year-old dual Olympic silver medallist had pleaded his innocence, saying he had never knowingly taken the banned drugs.

Surf Life Saving Australia chief executive Greg Nance said Baggaley's punishment had been downgraded from two years to 15 months due to mitigating circumstances.

Nance did not disclose what those circumstances were.

He also said it was unlikely Surf Life Saving Australia would appeal the court's decision.

The hearing began at 5.30pm in Sydney and no result was available to waiting journalists until five hours later.

The seven-times national K1 1000 champion and world K1 500 title-holder for the past three years tested positive to banned steroids stanozolol and methandienone in an out-of-competition drug test conducted by the Australian Sports Drug Agency on behalf of Surf Lifesaving Australia on September 13.

Baggaley, who won Olympic silver medals in the K1 and K2 500 at Athens, has maintained ever since the announcement of the positive tests ? on October 13 ? that he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs.

On October 14 the world champion's legal representatives, Minter Ellison, said an investigation had determined how the banned substances came to be found in Baggaley's body.

The same day, through his website, Baggaley urged ' ... just be patient and wait for the hearing to take place before you judge me. I have no doubt this will all work out fairly in the end'.

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