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Thursday, September 7, 2000

Strange to fight impaired charge

  Mike Strange, captain of the Canadian Olympic boxing team, has a fight on his hands after he returns home from the Games in Sydney.

 Strange was stopped on July 10 by the Ontario Provincial Police on the Queen Elizabeth Way near Grimsby and charged with driving while impaired. The 11-time Canadian amateur champion said he will plead not guilty in court on Jan. 4.

 "I just want to get this out of the way and concentrate on the task at hand, and that's to box well at the Olympics and bring some hardware back home to Canada," Strange, a two-time Commonwealth Games champion, said last night from the team's training camp at the Kaneohe Bay marine corps base in Hawaii.

 "This is very hard. I just hope Canadians, and especially the people of Niagara Falls who have stuck by me since 1992, will stick by me through this."

 "I am not guilty and I certainly do not condone drinking and driving."

 Strange was returning home from a golf outing when he was stopped.

 Strange's lawyer, Randall Barrs, is confident that his client will be exonerated.

 "We have a lot of very credible witnesses, very well known professional athletes from various fields, who will back (a not guilty plea)," Barrs said. "My investigation so far would indicate that Mike has a very good defence of this charge."