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Dutch Olympic sprinter Madiea Ghafoor jailed in drug smuggling case

DUESSELDORF, Germany -- The Dutch Olympic sprinter Madiea Ghafoor was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison on drug charges in Germany on Monday.

The court in the town of Kleve found Ghafoor knowingly imported around 50 kilograms of ecstasy and two kilograms of methamphetamine from the Netherlands into Germany in June, the German news agency dpa reported.

The 27-year-old Ghafoor reached the European Championship final in the 400 meters last year and was tipped to represent the Netherlands in the 4x400 relay at the recent world championships. She also raced the 4x400 at the 2016 Olympics, where the Dutch team was eliminated in the heats.

Dpa reported Ghafoor's defense said she decided to take performance-enhancing drugs to improve her career and believed she was transporting similar substances for other athletes, not narcotics.

She didn't say who had given her the drugs to transport, citing fears for her safety and for that of people close to her.

The Dutch track and field federation said the case would be referred to the country's doping authority.