Val Adams supports re-testing of Ostapchuk

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 10/03/2013
Valerie Adams
JOHN SELKIRK/ Fairfax NZ
GOLDEN GIRL: Valerie Adams.
Nadzeya Ostapchuk
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
CHEAT: Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk was found to have taken drugs at the London Olympics, taking Val's gold.

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Valerie Adams and her management would welcome further re-testing of Nadzeya Ostapchuk's doping control samples - including investigation of the Belarusian drug cheat's 2010 world indoor title where she claimed gold ahead of the New Zealander.

With a third positive test emerging from the disgraced Belarusian shot putter after samples from the 2005 world championships were re-tested, Ostapchuk's entire career is now under suspicion with seven-years between her 2005 offence and the two positive tests she returned at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

While Adams looks set to be promoted to silver from the 2005 world championships in Helsinki after also rightly taking London Olympic gold from a stripped Ostapchuk, New Zealand's top athlete could yet be proven the rightful owner of another world title.

Adams is not shocked by new indictments on Ostapchuk's integrity, but says the time between the Belarusian's positive samples inevitably brings seven years of results into question - including Ostapchuk's 2010 world indoor win in Doha, the last time Adams was beaten.

"I'm not surprised, I actually feel quite numb about it," Adams told Fairfax Media from Sydney this morning.

"There's speculation now because there's a seven-year window between the tests. Any athlete in that situation should have all their results double checked, absolutely. The last 24 hours have shown us our sport is not clean - but, it's getting cleaner.

"We don't know what else was happening with Ostapchuk from 2005 to 2012, and that includes when she won the indoor world title in Doha. She threw some massive throws in 2010."

Adams' manager, Nick Cowan, says it is very difficult not to suspect other Ostapchuk offences could be lurking and said he would also welcome a probe into the 2010 world indoor championships.

"It's now very difficult to not suspect that in the seven years separating those incidents, there could be no other possibility of Ostapchuk using performance-enhancing drugs, including when she won the 2010 world indoor title," Cowan said.

"We welcome further re-testing of historical samples for the full truth to be known about this athlete and for the integrity of athletics."

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With Ostapchuk among three other Belarusian athletes shamed by the IAAF's latest drug findings, both Adams and Cowan reinforced the opinion of Adams' coach, Jean-Pierre Egger - who told Fairfax Media in Switzerland shortly after the London Games that he believes Ostapchuk's 2012 exposure was part of a calculated doping operation.

"The indications are it's operating on a group level, not individual. That's the scary thing," Adams said.

Cowan said the number of Belarusian athletes exposed from the same event over the last 48 hours is unlikely to be a series of individual coincidences.

"There's been a lot of light shone on drugs in sport generally over the last two years, particularly orchestrated doping programmes being run by teams and with the knowledge of athletes themselves," he said.

"We are of the belief that these latest findings by the IAAF, with three other Belarusian athletes being exposed with Ostapchuk, lends to strong indication of another example of a comprehensive doping programme."

The latest revelations about Ostapchuk also put serious pressure on the slim, one-year ban placed on her by Belarusian authorities for her London 2012 offence. With Ostapchuk halfway through that term the IAAF are still yet to announce whether they will make a case for an extended ban. The World Anti-Doping Agency also has an option to challenge the sanction and call for a tougher sentence.

Adams, who has always taken a zero tolerance stance and called for drug cheats to be banned for life, says there can now be no doubt that Ostapchuk deserves to be dealt the toughest of bans.

"She should be punished accordingly, it should be a life ban," she said.

"The best thing is that technology is getting better all the time, cheats are being caught and the IAAF is helping clean up the sport.

"I just feel sorry for the people who never got to take their rightful place on the dias. Some of those athletes would have now retired."

- Sunday Star Times

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