Italian runner banned 3 years

ROME -- Italian long-distance runner Devis Licciardi has been banned for three years for cheating a drug test.

The Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping court issued the verdict Thursday after Licciardi was discovered trying to siphon off clean urine hidden in a prosthetic during a doping exam at the national 10-kilometer championship in Molfetta on Sept. 21.

The anti-doping prosecutor was seeking only a 2½-year ban.

The court also banned Sara Malpetti, Licciardi's girlfriend, who allegedly helped him, for 3½ years from all sports events in Italy.

Licciardi runs for the Italian Air Force team.