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The coach did it: disgraced shot-putter had food 'dusted' with steroids

Disgraced Belarusian shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk has handed back her Olympic gold medal as her former coach admits to doping her food without her knowledge.

Ostapchuk was stripped of her London Olympics gold medal the day of the closing ceremony, after testing positive in two separate drug tests at the games, and New Zealand's Valerie Adams was then promoted to the top spot.

Ostapchuk earlier said she was "framed" after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, pointing the finger at a former head athletics coach who was arrested this year by the Belarusian KGB.

It would appear her replacement coach however was the one to have "dusted her food" with the anabolic steroid metenalone.

Alyksandr Yefimov told Belarusian news website Charter 97 when Ostapchuk failed to perform in the months leading up to the Olympics, he began dusting her food with the drug.

"I will change my surname from Yefimov to Idiot. I will give you no more comments at this stage," Yefimov said.


Ostapchuk has been handed a more lenient one-year ban from competing in the sport, while Yefimov was banned for four years.

When asked by Charter 97 if he denied it Yefimov said:

"I am not saying I deny anything. I am just saying that I will change my surname. Let us wait for the decision of the International Federation and then comment. Then I will say what I said and what I didn't..."

New Zealand Olympics Committee spokeswoman Ashley Abbott would not comment on whether plans were underway to get Adams' gold medal.

"I'm not even going to look at that until this afternoon," she said.

Ostapchuk claimed in the days after she was stripped of her gold medal that she was framed by her coach, and also levelled her own doping allegations against Adams, which were immediately rubbished by officials throughout the international athletics community.

I've spent a lot of efforts to become an Olympic champion, I do not need excuses. I do not want to finish a career like this.

But it was against an earlier coach that Ostapchuk levelled her own doping allegations.

According to Charter 97, Anatoly Baduyev was detained by the KGB in May for extorting money from coaches and athletes by blackmailing them with the threat of positive dope tests.

In the interview with Pressball at the time, translated by Charter 97, Ostapchuk said she was a victim.

"The person [Baduyev], you know who I mean, the one who was involved in blackmail, he promised me long ago: you will have problems with doping control. Now I think his threat begins to come true, even though he no longer works with us."

In reference to a wider conspiracy Ostapchuk said she would carry out her own investigation of the charges, including the "participation of the investigating authorities".

"Anything that will be learned during the investigation will be known to everyone. I have nothing to hide from people. I've spent a lot of efforts to become an Olympic champion, I do not need excuses. I do not want to finish a career like this," she said in the interview.

"Athletes need to know that there is someone to rely on, from whom they can receive support and advice. We want to feel protected instead of waiting for meanness from those who should help us."

The Belarusian government has stood behind Ostapchuk, awarding the Order of the Fatherland Third Class after her Olympic gold win and promising full inquiries into the scandal.

The head of the Belarusian National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) Alexander Vankhadlo told a press conference their investigation was supervised by the International Association of Athletics Federations, reported the Belarussian Telegraph.

"The investigation was difficult. There were a lot of issues. Everyone wanted to know where the banned substance could come from because Ostapchuk was tested 16 times since April, both by international and national anti-doping agencies.

"We conducted additional doping tests, analysed the doping tests taken in London and studied the correlation of the prohibited substance in the first and second London tests. We even tested the staff close to the athlete.

He said throughout the investigation they learnt the drug was given to her by "personnel".

It was then that Yefimov confessed, Vankhadlo said.

It is not yet known when Adams will now receive her gold medal.

Fairfax NZ News