Another probe in muddy waters

The murky issue of doping, already the focus of a judicial inquiry, yesterday took on a political dimension as well. Also, a prosecutor launched a probe into allegations made by weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis someone must have spiked his drink before tests showed he had an abnormally high level of testosterone. He was stripped of his bronze medal. Opposition PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos, responsible for Olympic preparations before the March elections, accused the government of inertia in not ensuring Greek athletes were not doped, and in not moving swiftly to end the crisis that cast a shadow over the successful hosting of the Games. The National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) said that it found more than 1,000 units of food supplements that had ephedrine, a banned substance for Olympic athletes, in a warehouse belonging to Christos Tzekos, the coach of sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou. Some anabolic steroids also were found, EOF said. A prosecutor is investigating the circumstances of Kenteris and Thanou’s missing an IOC doping test on August 12 and their claims they were injured in a motorcycle accident. Athens 2004 spokesman Serapheim Kotrotsos confirmed yesterday chief organizer Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki discussed the issue with IOC President Jacques Rogge on Sunday. She «expressed her interest as to how these matters affect the image of the Games, since everything is going very smoothly,»  Kotrotsos said.

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