Thursday, February 07, 2008
CANARSIE’S ALI WEIGHS RETURN FROM BAN
By MITCH ABRAMSON
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
Thursday, February 7th 2008, 4:00 AM
Canarsie’s Olympic boxer, Sadam Ali, presently on voluntary suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, is mulling over a proposal from the International Amateur Boxing Association that would allow him to compete in amateur competitions later this month and be eligible for the Olympics in Beijing.
If Ali, 19, goes along with the idea, the suspension would be lifted on Feb. 22 and he would be allowed to participate in an Olympic qualifier on March 10-18 in Trinidad and Tobago. Although Ali, a lightweight, is on the U.S. Olympic boxing team, he must qualify to compete in the 2008 Games. The third and final qualifier is in Guatemala in April.
On Monday, Vagner Mortensen, Chairman of AIBA’s Anti-doping Commission, sent a letter to Jim Millman, CEO of USA Boxing, indicating that Ali could be placed on a three-month suspension, retroactive from when Ali placed himself on a voluntary suspension on Nov.22.
Ali’s New York-based attorney, Salvatore Strazzullo, maintains that a United States team doctor, Frank Filiberto, prescribed the boxer five different medications a day or so before Ali was tested while participating at a test event in Beijing, China, on Nov.17-22. The medications played a key role in his positive drug test, according to Strazzullo.
Strazzullo also said that in the wake of the positive drug test, he sent USA Boxing a letter in which he suggested that Ali take a lie-detector test on Feb.14. He also said he sent AIBA a letter broaching the idea of calling an expedited hearing to air the details of the case and to send an associate to fly to Switzerland on Jan.17 to meet with AIBA officials. He also mentioned in the letter, sent to Patricia Steulet, AIBA’s Director of External Relations & Development, that he had retained the services of three investigators and four attorneys.
“The reason for the only three-month suspension I think shows that Mr.Ali was not to blame for what happened in November,” Strazzullo said. “It speaks for itself. AIBA could have given him a one-year suspension which would have ousted him from his Olympic dreams, but they didn’t do that.”