Belarusian cheat dismissed as 'raving mad'

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 09:26 16/08/2012
MIKE SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

Fairfax reporter Simon Plumb visited gold medal winning shot putter Valerie Adams at her training base in Switzerland to talk about her rollercoaster Olympic Games.

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The Belarusian government is launching its own investigation into shamed shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who has been labelled "raving mad" for claiming Valerie Adams failed a drug test in 2005.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand has quashed the allegation from Ostapchuk, saying Adams had never failed a drugs test.

Ostapchuk made the latest outlandish accusations, amid a string of conspiracy theories which included claims she was sabotaged by a former coach, on the official Belarus track and field website yesterday in an apparent attempt to clear her name.

The controversial Ostapchuk returned two separate failed drugs tests, before and after winning Olympic gold, in London. She has since been ordered to return the medal to Adams.

Overnight, the Belarusian Government said it was launching its own investigation into Ostapchuk.

Belarusian National Olympic Committee vice president Sergei Teterin told national TV channel ONT that its National Anti-Doping Agency and the Belarusian Athletic Federation would investigate independently.

"The International Association of Athletics Federations will conduct its own investigation. We will discuss this point after we got through all these procedures," he said.

But, clearly, Ostapchuk is determined to fight.

She did not hold back with unsubstantiated and vitriolic claims against long-time rival Adams. 

"I think Valerie behaves unsportswomen like. She was not even in the starting line-up before the Games because she had a positive drugs test in 2005," Ostapchuk told the website.

Ostapchuk went further, alleging doping, not an administrative blunder, was the true reason for Adams being originally left off the shot put start list before a late correction ensured the Kiwi champion could compete.

"When there are rumours then most likely it means Valerie had some problems. Therefore, what Adams says about me is a joke," Ostapchuk said. "We will see how all of this will end, including for her."

Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Graeme Steel vehemently dismissed the accusations and questioned Ostapchuk's ever-diminishing credibility.

"Val has never failed any of our drug tests and the International Association of Athletic Federations are required to provide any tests of theirs that she fails. They have never done that," Steel said in staunch defence of Adams.

"We have no record of any positive tests and the rules require that we should have."

SHE'S A 'RAVING MAD WOMAN'

Adams' manager, Nick Cowan, hit back, labelling the 31-year-old Belarusian a "raving mad woman".

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"These are the ravings of a mad woman," Cowan said. "On day one her excuse was there had been a misunderstanding or mix-up; on day two there was a conspiracy against Belarus, then a former coach had framed her.  And now it's all Val's fault.

"It is clear for the public to see she has no credibility and is grasping at straws."

Steel believed this was yet another distressed attempt from Ostapchuk to deflect attention away from her failed tests for performance-enhancing substances.

"If she was someone who was wanting to be believed then this certainly wouldn't help," Steel said.

Ostapchuk also implied New Zealand employed relaxed drug testing systems, despite Adams revealing she provided 16 samples in the last year, including three in one week in February.

"I'm satisfied we have a robust system here that is as good as anything around the world. I don't know what she bases that on. I doubt she's ever investigated the way we do things here," Steel added.

"I would be very surprised if she had been under the same scrutiny as Val has been.''

Steel's counterpart in Belarus, Alexander Vankhadlo, has also outraged onlookers by telling media that he believed ''doping could become a medicine'' in the future.

- Fairfax Media

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