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ERR News - At a press conference on April 7, the Estonian ski association announced that the level of growth hormone in Andrus Veerpalu's body was indeed found to be higher than permitted before the athlete decided to skip the Oslo world championships and end his career.
On February 23, Veerpalu announced he would end his skiing career and not compete in Holmenkollen because of a cold. The ski association announced today that the International Anti-Doping Agency had established a higher-than-permitted level of growth hormone in Veerpalu's body on February 14, and that the positive test results were confirmed by the German la-boratory on April 6 in a B-sample.

At the press conference, Veerpalu said he was indeed in bad health and that he has never used any forbidden performance enhancers. He said he would present a further explanation to the FIS soon. However, Veerpalu admitted that he knew about the shocking test result before announcing his withdrawal. He called the step an "emotional decision," saying he felt he needed to focus on pro-ving his innocence.
Veerpalu's long-time coach Mati Alaver said he does not have any reason to doubt Veerpalu's words. "I have never acted in violation of agreed rules. As a friend and coach, I will definitely back Andrus [...]. The best advisers have been involved and I do hope that Andrus and his attorney, Aivar Pilv, will be able to clear up this controversy," said Alaver.
According to World Anti-Doping Agency rules, no organization or person except the athlete or his or her representative has the right to disclose or comment on test results. Any public announcement may only be made 20 days after the FIS ruling in the matter. That is why the heads of the association were forced to deny any knowledge of the positive A-sample in the face of rumors, said Jüri Järv, director of Estonia's national ski association.
The announcement was made in response to "overwhelming public interest" and on Veerpalu's own initiative, the association said.


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