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Speed skater Pechstein loses court claim

The former Olympic champion has lost her claim for damages from the International Skating Union. Pechstein was banned in 2009 by the ISU, but continues to protest her innocence.

German speed skater Claudia Pechstein has suffered a bitter defeat in her ongoing legal battle with the International Skating Union (ISU).

The 44-year-old is seeking 4.4 million euros ($5.2 million) in damages, but the German Federal Court has ruled against her. Pechstein has been embroiled in a series of legal battles after receiving a two-year suspension in 2009 over elevated blood levels in her biological passport.

Pechstein argued at Germany's highest court for civil and criminal law (BGH) that athletes should have recourse in civil courts. The speed skater has always denied doping and was later diagnosed with a genetic defect by doctors.

The five-time Olympic champion was forced to miss out on the Vancouver Olympic Games following the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Pechstein lost her sponsors and was forced to invest thousands of euros in medical reports and legal fees.

In January, Munich's higher regional court ruled that previous arbitration agreements between Claudia Pechstein and the International Skating Union (ISU) were invalid. The court overturned the CAS ruling and one from a district court which had dismissed the case in February 2014.

rd/jm (SID, dpa)

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