NEWS

Doping probe widens

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met yesterday with the country’s top sports official to discuss all issues concerning sports, including the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The controversy over top sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou withdrawing from the Olympics after failing to turn up for a doping control test is the subject of an ever widening judicial inquiry. Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Orfanos, who is in charge of sports, has sent the prosecutor’s office a file including the subsidies that his predecessors in the previous government had given to Christos Tzekos, the two sprinters’ coach, and athletic organizations. Yesterday, the prosecutor ordered the Finance Ministry’s police (SDOE) to investigate the Ajax sports organization which was run by Tzekos. Orfanos has said that this group received some 1.5 million euros in subsidies from the government in recent years. Giorgos Stamatopoulos, a deputy president of the national track-and-field federation, SEGAS, testified before prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis yesterday. As he is also deputy leader of the Greek Olympic delegation, Stamatopoulos is expected to cast light on the circumstances around Kenteris and Thanou’s missed drug test and the motorcycle accident they claim to have been in. During the sprinters’ days in hospital, when Tzekos claimed that he had been informed late on the night of Aug. 12 that the IOC inspectors were looking for the two to test them, Stamatopoulos contradicted him, saying he had spoken with him early that afternoon.