Olympic kayaker faces jail term

LISMORE: Australian Olympic silver medalist and former world kayaking champion Nathan Baggaley faces a prison term of up to 20 years after pleading guility to supplying and manufacturing ecstasy pills.

A Lismore District Court sentencing hearing was told Thursday that Baggaley, who won two silver medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, pleaded guilty to the sale of 1,509 tablets in late 2007. He and his younger brother, Dru, have spent more than 18 months in prison following their arrest in November 2007.

The 33-year-old Baggaley won Olympic silver medals in the K1 and K2 over 500 meters at Athens. He also won gold medals in the K1 class at world championships in 2002, 2003 and 2005.

Nathan Baggaley tested positive for two steroids, stanozolol and methindione, in September 2005 and was subsequently banned for 15 months by the Australian Canoe Federation. The suspension was extended to two years by the International Canoe Federation, and he was barred from competing at the Beijing Olympics last year because of the pending criminal charges.

The sentencing hearing continues Friday.