Gabriela Szabo

Olympic champion runner Gabriela Szabo said in an interview that she will not retire because it would only encourage suspicions that she is doping herself.

"If I quit now, I will give a reason to all those who suspect me of something," Romanian Szabo was quoted as saying by sports daily L'Equipe. French authorities are currently analysing medicine that customs agents found in a car belonging to 37-year-old Szabo on May 9.

Szabo, who won the 5,000 meters at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was not in the car that customs agents intercepted at La Turbie, near France's border with Italy.

One drug seized was Actovegin, a substance made from extracts of calf's blood. Some believe it boosts oxygen and glucose levels in the blood. Athletes are banned from using the drug.

The car's Romanian driver, Daniel Vlad, was questioned and released. Szabo's trainer and husband, Zsolt Gyoengyoessy, said the Actovegin was meant for another Romanian athlete — Mihaela Botezan — training with Szabo at Font-Romeu in the French Pyrenees.

"You've got me involved in a right mess," the interview quoted Szabo as telling Botezan, also present. "My reputation is totally ruined and so is my husband's." Botezan, 36, who finished fourth in the 10,000 meters at the last European Championships in Germany last summer, said she was "sorry to have caused Gabriela so many problems."