Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Greek doping scandal spreads

The Greek doping scandal which started with the discovery of illicit substances in samples taken from eleven members of Greece's weightlifting teams on 7 March by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) has widened. The Hellenic Anti - Doping Council (ESKAN) announced today that four other Greek athletes had tested positive for banned substances, a fifth athlete refused to be tested. According to statements made by Asterios Deleyiannis, vice president of ESKAN on the Greek TV station NET, cyclists and handball players had failed dope tests.

The Greek Weightlifting Federation has decided not to ask for an examination of the B samples taken from the 11 members of the country's Olympic weightliting team. The Federation appears to be adopting the line first put foward by the team's coach Christos Iakovou that the positive doping results are due to a mix - up in the athletes dietary supplements by the chinese supplier, Auspure.

In a press conference, Iakovou's lawyer, Mixlis Dimitrakopoulos claimed that the Shanghai based company had apologised for what was termed a "tragic mistake" in an email in his possession. However, the email in question had no details of either the sender or recipient apart from the name Su Li. Nor was any explanation given as to how the supplement in question managed to find its way into athletes hands without passing Greek custom checks or why other athletes did not test posive.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Aupere via email the company has made no reply as whether they had indeed sent the email in question or if Ms Su Li is an employee. The company's website also was suddenly unavailable as of yesterday.

The Greek district attorney's office raided various althletic facilities in Agia Kosma in order to carry out searches of the weightlifters rooms. However, many in the Greek media have doubted the efficacy of such a move more than a month after the original surprise check by WADA and more than three days after the story broke in the local media.

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