ISTANBUL (2012 London Olympics) – The United States will have arguably the best player in the world in their team at next year’s Olympic Games in London after the provisional doping ban on Diana Taurasi was lifted by the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF).
Taurasi, whose contract was terminated by Fenerbahce in early January, had to stop playing in December after a lab determined that she had tested positive for modafinil, a banned stimulant that combats insomnia and other sleep-related conditions.
According to the TBF, the lab that returned the positive test retracted its report after evaluating Taurasi's comments.
Provisional bans for three other basketball and football players have also been lifted.
Taurasi's attorney, Howard Jacobs, spoke to The Courant newspaper in Connecticut, where the player was a college basketball star.
He said: "The defense we submitted was based primarily on lab error and errors in even identifying modafinil.
"We felt strongly it was a false positive and it's good to know that they agreed, even though it took several rounds of hearings to get there."
Geno Auriemma, Taurasi's college coach at the University of Connecticut and with the gold-medal winning United States national team at last summer's FIBA World Championship for Women, said: "I was thrilled to read today's report that the precautionary ban on Diana had been lifted by the Turkish Federation.
"Throughout this entire ordeal, [Taurasi] maintained her innocence and for her to be exonerated makes me incredibly happy for her.
"I hope she can put this behind her and focus all her efforts on continuing to be the best player in the world."
"We're delighted that Diana has been cleared and can now put this behind her and continue her remarkable basketball career," USA Basketball executive director Jim Tooley said in a statement.
"She has been an exemplary member of numerous USA Basketball teams since 2000, and we look forward to her continued involvement with USA Basketball."
photos Janos Schmidt