12 Sep 2012

Coach says he spiked Ostapchuk's food

5:11 pm on 12 September 2012

The coach of shot putter Nadezhda Ostapchuk, who was stripped of the Olympic gold medal in August, says he intentionally spiked her food with steroids without her knowledge.

The athlete from Belarus tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid after competing at the London Games and the gold medal went instead to New Zealand defending champion Valerie Adams.

The Belarus anti-doping agency says coach Alexander Yefimov has confessed to putting the drug into Ostapchuk's food because he was worried by her performances in the lead-up to the Games.

Yefimov has been suspended for four years and Ostapchuk for one.

Alexander Vankhadlo, the head of the agency, says Ostapchuk received a lenient sentence because Yefimov admitted putting steroids in her food.

Ostapchuk has always denied any wrongdoing, and originally refused to return her gold medal to the International Olympic Committee.

But Jauhen Valoshyn, a sports reporter for European Radio for Belarus, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Wednesday that he spoke to Ostapchuk after the hearing and she was shocked by what she heard.

Valoshyn said he believes the coach was forced to say that he spiked her food.

He said a one-year suspension means Ostapchuk should be able to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.