Doping-Olympic swimming champion broke doping rules - officials

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BUDAPEST, Nov 9 (Reuters) Hungary's former Olympic swimming champion Agnes Kovacs violated anti-doping rules last month by refusing to take an out-of-competition drug test, Hungarian anti-doping authorities have said.

The 1996 Olympic 200 metre breaststroke champion and seven-times European champion today denied breaking any rules and said doping officials had misled her, saying she was free to go after she had been unable to immediately produce a sufficient sample.

Kovacs had been selected for a urine test on October 30 and only produced 25 millilitres of urine, a third of the required amount, before she said she had to urgently leave for a meeting.

''The athlete, claiming other duties, refused to provide a further sample and acknowledged her refusal in writing,'' the Hungarian Anti-Doping Group, the firm in charge of testing, said in a statement.

Kovacs said she had to leave for a prescheduled event and claimed anti-doping officials had said it was all right for her to go.

''They gave me lots of papers to sign and on top of one paper it said 'refusal to take a doping test', but (the testers) said 'no, this is not a violation, it's not a problem, you can go','' Kovacs said on public television MTV today.

Kovacs said doping officials had not offered to accompany her and wait for a sample, and that they had told her they would come back in several days for a new sample.

''I have been misled,'' Kovacs said.

REUTERS TB RAI1607

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