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Greek sprinter denies doping charges

30 September 2008

A Greek sprinter who failed a dope test days before the Beijing Olympics told a prosecutor on Tuesday he was not aware he was being given performance-enhancing drugs.

Tassos Gousis, 29, said he and disgraced 2004 Olympic champion Fani Halkia had presented a case against unknown individuals for putting their life in danger by administering the drugs without their knowledge, court officials said.


“Gousis said he didn’t know anything about the supplements he was taking and that no athlete would put his career at risk days before the Olympics,” a court official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.


Gousis had been due to compete in the 200 meters at last month’s Games but failed a test conducted by the Greek anti-doping agency and had to return from a pre-Olympic training camp in Japan.


Halkia, who won the 400-meters hurdles at the Athens Olympics, tested positive in Beijing for the steroid methyltrienolone (M3) in the highest-profile setback for the Greek team.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has presented a lawsuit against Halkia’s coach, George Panagiotopoulos, who appeared before the prosecutor last week and said she had never deliberately taken performance-enhancing steroids.


Greece has launched an investigation of Greek anti-doping law violations after 19 of its athletes tested positive in the run-up to the Beijing Games.

It had more athletes banned than medals won—two silvers and two bronze.


The prosecutor is expected to call Halkia and her coach to testify later this week, after their lawyer asked for an extension.

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