Val's gold safe unless tests proven wrong

MICHELLE COOK
Last updated 10:49 14/08/2012
Valerie Adams
Photosport
SILVER TO GOLD: Valerie Adams with her silver medal, which will be replaced by the gold.

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Nadzeya Ostapchuk can challenge the test results as much as she likes, but unless they're proven wrong, Valerie Adam's new gold medal is safe, New Zealand's anti-doping authority says.

Two urine samples taken from Ostapchuk- one the day before the August 6 final and one that night - have been found positive for the steroid metenolone.

The International Olympic Committee has stripped the Belarusian of her gold medal, with it now going to New Zealand's Valerie Adams.

But Ostapchuk vehemently denies taking the steroid and seems to be hell-bent on clearing her name.

Even if she could prove that the steroid ended up in her system after her food or drink was spiked, she still had a technical advantage over her opponents, Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Graeme Steel said.

The only way her name could be cleared would be for further tests to prove that the original results were wrong, Steel said.

"She would have to show it was by no fault on her part. Even if she does that...the rule says she still had a technical advantage.

"So unless the test was shown to be wrong, she would always lose the medal."

Metenolone is an anabolic-androgen steroid which produces male-like characteristics, Steel said.

While it increases strength it also leads to a deeper voice and more hair.

"If you take an anabolic steroid you can't have part of the package and not the other."

The committee's decision was swift, and the whole disciplinary process was completed within 24 hours.

Ostapchuk could attend a hearing, provide a written defence or request the test results within that time, according to the International Olympic Committee Anti-Doping Rules for the London Games.

She could then take the case to the International Association of Athletics Federations which could conduct a more in-depth hearing which could look at the evidence supporting her argument, Steel said.

She would also then have the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, he said.

New Zealand athletes were tested all-year-round and especially leading up to big events such as the Olympics.

Some athletes in endurance sports were tested more than others, such as those as in the equestrian and shooting, Steel said.

All medallists were tested by the International Olympic Committee. Eleven athletes at the 2012 Olympics were excluded from the games after testing positive for banned substances.

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- Fairfax Media

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