By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year in Whistler

March 19 - Swedish wheelchair curler Glenn Ikonen (pictured) has been thrown out of the Paralympics in Vancouver and could face a two-year suspension after testing positive for a banned drug.

Ikonen claims he did not know the beta blocker, a blood pressure medication he was taking, was on the banned list.

Ikonen, who was to throw the rocks in today's match against Italy, told a news conference he was disappointed in his doctor for giving him medication that was on the banned list.

He said had been been taking it for three years but was not tested prior to the 2009 World Championship, where Sweden won a silver medal.

Ikonen said: "I am shocked.

"I couldn't imagine this.

"I am an old man.

"I'm 54 years old.

"I would never take anything I can't take.

"I'm disappointed in my doctor at home.

"I told him I didn't want anything I can't take."

The drug in question, which is on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) banned list, is the beta blocker metoprolol manufactured by Sandoz used to control high blood pressure.

Ikonen was subject to a random drug test two days ago and was just informed of the result and the subsequent ban at lunchtime today.

It meant he missed Sweden's tie-breaker against Italy to decide who the fourth and final play-off place.

If the case is confirmed he could be banned for up to two years.

Ikonen said: "Of course I'm terribly sad.

"I'm in shock.

"I wasn't trying to hide anything."

Swedish team doctor Magnus Sunblad said, unlike some other sports such as biathlon, there is no advantage in curling to using a drug like a beta blocker, which helps to slow down the pumping rate of the heart.

Jalle Jungnell, Sweden's skip, said: "Of course we were totally shocked and sorry for Glenn who played so well for us in the round robin.

"He felt he had done everything right about the medication."

Sweden overcame the distraction, however, to beat Italy 6-5 and qualify to meet Canada tomorrow for the opportunity to play in the gold medal match.