Fernandez will miss Games over doping ban
FRANCISCO 'Paquillo' Fernandez was renowned as one of the world's greatest-ever walkers until caught at the centre of a doping scandal in Spain three years ago.
As a result of a drugs ban, he will miss this year's Olympics.
As well as winning an Olympic silver medal in 2004, Paquillo (35) has been a runner-up three times in the World Championship, and these achievements have turned turn him into an icon at home.
But his reputation took a hit in 2009 when his apartment was one of those raided in the major drugs bust, Operation Grial, in 2009.
According to the Spanish newspaper 'El Pais', It was alleged that doping agents were found.
Initially, Fernandez denied any involvement in drugs, but he later admitted possession of the blood-boosting substance, EPO (Erythropoietin).
Sports people using EPO hope to increase athletic performance by artificially increasing their red blood cell count.
Early this year the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an appeal by the International Amateur Athletic Federation and banned Fernandez for two years. The court took into account time served while provisionally suspended, and as a result, Fernandez will be able to compete from December.