Sotomayor Drops Out Of World

High-jumper Javier Sotomayor, the world record-holder and 1992 Olympic champion who tested positive for cocaine at the Pan American Games, has withdrawn from the World Championships because of a herniated disc.

His withdrawal means the International Amateur Athletic Federation won't have to decide whether to suspend him from the championships at Seville, Spain, Aug. 21-29.

IAAF spokesman Giorgio Reineri said Friday that the federation had not yet received official notification of Sotomayor's withdrawal but would welcome it.

"If Sotomayor doesn't compete in Seville because he's injured, many problems are solved," he said. "The case will follow normal procedure."

Sotomayor tested positive for cocaine after winning his fourth consecutive title at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on July 30. He was stripped of his gold medal.

Sotomayor, 31, the two-time world outdoor champion and world indoor and outdoor record-holder, and Cuban officials have proclaimed his innocence and contend that his drug test was manipulated as part of a conspiracy.

The IAAF has received a report on Sotomayor's case from the Cuban federation, which has refused to suspend him. Reineri said the report would be examined by the IAAF's drug commission. If the Cuban federation doesn't suspend Sotomayor, the IAAF can.

Cuban sports officials announced Sotomayor's injury Friday.

The Cuban Sports Institute said Sotomayor would need an operation to repair the injured disc in his lower back. No date has been set for surgery, the institute said.

Rodrigo Alvarez Cambra, chief doctor to the Cuban delegation at Winnipeg, has called the injury "a grave and serious problem."

Sotomayor was seen grimacing and reaching for his lower back after one of his jumps at the Pan Am games.

"I feel very, very bad," Sotomayor was quoted as saying. "I didn't think the injury was that serious."

Sotomayor is the only high jumper to clear 8 feet, first accomplishing the feat in 1989. He improved his record to 8-0½ in 1993.

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