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ITF suspends Argentina's Mariano Hood for doping
2006-02-08 20:28:09 Xinhua English
BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 8(Xinhuanet)-- On Wednesday the International Tennis Federation(ITF) said in a statement that it had suspended Argentine tennis player Mariano Hood for doping at 2005's Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis competition in France.

Hood, ranked ITF 33, who had already said that he would retire from the game, is accused of taking the banned substance finasteride, in the same competition where his fellow Mariano Puerta, Argentine, was banned from playing for eight years, the toughest punishment ever handed down by the ITF.

The ITF has also ordered Hood to return just over 22,500 U.S. dollars of prize money which he won in the competition, where he played alongside the Czech Republic's Martin Damm losing in the quarter finals to the pair of Mark Knowles, of the Bahamas, and Daniel Nestor, of Canada.

The ban's official start date is Oct. 10, 2005, although Parisian Grand Slam took place from May 23 to June 5, 2005.

Hood, 32, admitted taking the drug, but said he did not know it was banned, adding that he used it to prevent hair loss.

"It's a daily thing for me. I have been having treatments for nine years to prevent hair loss. During that time I had 15 or 20 anti-doping tests and nothing came up," Hood said in response to the news of his sentence.

The case is the fifth involving Argentine tennis players in recent years, beginning with Juan Ignacio Chela, suspended for three months in April 2001. Enditem

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