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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Probe into doping furor continues

  • [01] Probe into doping furor continues

    Greek Weightlifting Federation President Nikos Skiadas on Wednesday was the latest individual to testify before a first instance court prosecutor assigned a preliminary investigation into highly damaging allegations of doping involving practically all the athletes on Greece's national weightlifting team.

    National Anti-Doping Council President Chryssa Spiliopoulou has also testified in the same case, as teams of prosecutors and police raided a handful of pharmacies, gyms and warehouses in Athens over the recent 48-hour period in search of banned substances, primarily steroids.

    Meanwhile, an attorney representing weightlifting team head coach Christos Iakovou called for chief prosecutor Panagiotis Poulios to direct a specialised police electronic crimes unit to investigate the authenticity of an email ostensibly sent earlier in the week by a Shanghai-based firm that produces the banned performance-enhancing substances. The latter substances were detected in the 11 athletes' urine samples by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last month.

    The email, signed only by one "Su Lee" and addressed to "Dear Client", claims the banned substances were shipped to Greece by mistake.

    In a related development, the Greek Handball Federation in a statement issued Wednesday denied news reports claiming that an alleged instance of doping was detected in the national team, clarifying that the violation concerned the use of cannabis use by a foreign athlete.

    Turning to pro football, samples were taken from a total of 12 players of top Greek clubs AEK Athens and Panathinaikos Athens on Wednesday during a surprise inspection by the National Anti-Doping Agency (ESKAN).

    The latest doping furor broke last Friday when it was announced that 11 out of 14 athletes -- both in men's and women's national teams -- had failed tests conducted by WADA on March 7. Well-known coach Christos Iakovou tendered his resignation immediately in the wake of the news.

    Chinese reply

    In the wake of the doping furor, the embassy of the People's Republic of China in Athens released the following press announcement on Wednesday:

    "The Embassy has contacted the Greek side and informed competent authorities in the Beijing and Shanghai. The Chinese side takes this issue very seriously and has immediately started an investigation and requested further information from the Greek side.

    "China reiterates its adherence to the universal sports ethics which took origin from and are enshrined in Greece. We are committed to safeguarding the sanctity of Olympic values, firmly opposed to any use of doping by exercising strict control of all doping-related substances. We are ready to work closely with the Greek side to find out what happened and take all necessary actions," the press release concluded.


    Meanwhile, speaking during a regular press briefing on Wednesday, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said whatever supplements provided to sports federations and gyms are approved by the National Organization for Medicines (EOF).

    Referring to the likelihood that certain substances are listed as dietary supplements to avoid being regulated by EOF, he cited statements the relevant sports ministry that procedures must be followed or modified.

    Supplements have to be EOF approved, he said, adding that citizens are obligated to obey the law.

    As regards press claims that roughly 11 million dietary supplements are on the local market without EOF approval, he pointed to an exaggeration, saying state services have an obligation to trace violations in case of illegally marketed substances.

    Caption: A picture dated Saturday 03 August 2004 shows urine samples prepared for testing on the blood-booster EPO, in the Swiss Laboratory for Analysis of Doping (LAD) in Lausanne, Switzerland. ANA-MPA/EPA/FABRICE COFFRINI

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