Drug cheat Nadzeya Ostapchuk escapes life ban
Drug cheat Nadzeya Ostapchuk has escaped a life ban but will not face Valerie Adams at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
International athletics officials have handed the Belarusian shot putter a retrospective four-year ban, not the lifetime term many expected after she was exposed for repeat doping offences.
Ostapchuk's ineligibility period will end on August 14, 2016, the second week of the Rio Olympics and the scheduled third day of athletics events.
The final schedule for the athletics events has yet to be determined by International Olympic Committee officials.
With Ostapchuk ineligible to compete until the Games, she will not be able to record any form of qualification and will therefore not face Adams for Olympic gold in Rio, where Adams could become the first New Zealander to win three successive Olympic gold medals.
Adams was unavailable for comment today but her manager, Nick Cowan, said that while there was a sense of finality with the formal punishment finally being handed down to Ostapchuk, repeat drug offences warranted lifetime bans.
"A four-year ban is a good start," Cowan told Fairfax Media.
"Ostapchuk doesn't deserve to compete at the next Olympics. No cheat does, or ever should.
"A life ban was warranted, so naturally, we are disappointed. However, we're not the administrators or the lawyers so we think it's best to leave the judgements at this stage to them in the hope that it may be able to be reconsidered.
"Valerie's in great shape, she's on top of her game and is looking forward to this year and to 2016."
Since news of Ostapchuk's doping broke during the 2012 London Olympics her name has been missing from a list of sanctioned athletes regularly updated by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
However, she is now on a list dated March 21, 2014, and is listed as carrying a four-year sanction. Recorded are offences for "AAF – Formestane & 4-Hydroxytestosterone" from August 13, 2005, when Ostapchuk won the world shot put title, and "AAF – Metenolone" from August 5, 2012, when Ostapchuk cheated her way to Olympic gold.