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Pittman tears cartilage in right knee

ATHENS, Greece -- The Australian Olympic Committee refused
to rule 400-meter hurdles world champion Jana Pittman out of the
Olympics even though she said her season was over due to an injured
knee.

"We are told that there is still hope in respect of her
participation in the games, but she is under sedation," Peter
Montgomery, vice president of the Australian Olympic Committee,
told reporters on Sunday.

He said Pittman had undergone arthroscopic surgery on her right
knee in a London hospital.

The 21-year-old is Australia's best hope for Olympic gold in
athletics. She damaged cartilage in her knee while doing hurdles
drills in a warmup exercise before a Golden League meet in Zurich,
Switzerland, on Friday.

Before Sunday's operation she said she didn't expect to compete
at the Summer Games.

" ... We've made the decision that I won't run at the
Olympics," Pittman told Australia's Channel Seven. "We're getting
a second opinion in London, but that's the prognosis at this
stage."

Pittman said she opted against having doctors remove the torn
cartilage in her knee because it only gave her a 5 percent chance
of competing in the games and put the rest of her career at risk.

Pittman is being treated by Chris Bradshaw, team doctor for the
London soccer club Fulham. He was on the medical staff for the
Australian athletics team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"I am certain that we will give her the absolute maximum
opportunity to be able to compete. As far as I am aware, there is
no one standing by who would take her position in the event,"
Montgomery said.

Heats for the 400-meter hurdles begin on Aug. 21. Australian
team officials must submit the names of competitors two days before
that.

"It doesn't seem fair," Pittman said. "I didn't do anything
wrong. It wasn't like I was playing basketball or something stupid,
I was just warming up Zurich Golden League."