(ATR) Spain Olympic Committee (COE) president Alejandro Blanco says tennis star Rafael Nadal deserves to be the country’s flag bearer at the Rio 2016 Olympics after a former French sports minister accused Nadal of doping.
Currently the fourth-ranked tennis player in the world, Nadal was accused by Roselyne Bachelot of using an elbow injury to cover-up a failed doping test in 2012. Nadal missed seven-months of competition due to the tendinitis injury including the London 2012 Olympics. Bachelot told French television station Le Grand 8 in March that Nadal’s injury status was "probably due to a positive doping test".
Nadal won his Olympic gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. As the number one ranked player in the world four years ago hewas widely regarded as the favorite to repeat in London. Before Nadal withdrew from the Olympic tournament he was selected as the opening ceremony flag bearer for Spain.
Nadal may now have a second chance to carry the flag and an opportunity to reclaim his gold medal at the Rio Olympics this August.
He is now trying clear his name in the public eye with a defamation lawsuit against Bachelot filed in Paris on Monday.
"Through this case, I intend not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career," Nadal said in a statement. "I also wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished."
The Rio 2016 Games begin Aug. 5 with the opening matches of the tennis tournament starting Aug. 6. Tennis will award its gold medals one week before the Games come to a close on Aug. 14.
Written by Kevin Nutley
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