Wednesday 20 November 2019

Dope cheat shot putter stripped of gold medal

Stephen Wilson

Just hours after the close of the Olympics, a female shot putter from Belarus was yesterday stripped of her gold in the first case of an athlete losing a medal for doping at the London Games.

With the disqualification of Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the gold medal was awarded to Valerie Adams of New Zealand -- who winds up as Olympic champion for the second time in a row.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Ostapchuk, a former world champion, tested positive for steroids both before and after winning the shot put last week for her first Olympic gold.

After an IOC hearing, she was formally expelled from the Games and had her victory and medal removed from the records. She was the eighth athlete, and first medalist, caught during the IOC's London drug-testing program.

Adams was bumped up from Olympic silver to gold, with Evgeniia Kolodko of Russia upgraded to silver and fourth-place finisher Gong Lijiao of China moving up to bronze. Adams now has a second gold to go with her victory in Beijing four years ago.

"I am speechless with this news," she said. "I am absolutely thrilled of course. It makes me extraordinarily proud as a New Zealander.

"It is also encouraging for those athletes like myself, who are proud to compete cleanly, that the system works and doping cheats are caught."

The IOC took more than 5,000 urine and blood samples in London. Until the shot put case, the games were set to end with medal standings in all 302 events unaltered by doping scandals.

Ostapchuk (31), world champion in 2005, recorded the biggest shot put mark in a decade in the lead up to the Olympics. She won the gold with a mark of 21.36 meters.

She told media in Belarus that she had done nothing wrong.

"I do not understand where it could come from," she said. "I'm looking like an idiot to take this in heading for the Games and knowing that it is so easy to be tested.

"The most important for me is to clear my reputation. I've been in the sport for so many years and have never faced any claims."

Irish Independent

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