NEWS

Conspiracy denied

The chief of Greece’s Olympic team, Yiannis Papadoyiannakis, yesterday countered claims by sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou that they were victims of a setup that led to their withdrawing from the Olympics after missing an IOC doping test on the eve of the opening ceremony. Papadoyiannakis and the Olympic team’s former technical director, Odysseas Papatolis, testified before prosecutors Athena Theodoropoulou and Spyros Mouzakitis, respectively, who are investigating the circumstances of the missed doping tests. Papadoyiannakis tendered his resignation during the Games but it was not accepted. Papatolis’s resignation was formally accepted on Wednesday. «I testified on all I have said up to now. I described events precisely as they occurred. In my testimony I have set down, minute by minute, everything that happened in the Olympic Village. Everyone, including the athletes, can say whatever they wish,» Papadoyiannakis said after spending six-and-a-half hours in the prosecutor’s office. «If there was a conspiracy,» he said, regarding the athletes’ claims, «let them prove it.» Both officials were asked to explain how Kenteris and Thanou’s coach, Christos Tzekos, would inform them periodically on the whereabouts of the two. This has arisen as a key issue in the scandal that rocked Greece just as the Olympics were due to begin. Kenteris and Thanou have said that they were not aware that doping inspectors were looking for them on the afternoon of August 12 to conduct tests on them. They said that when they learned, late that night, that they were being sought, they borrowed Tzekos’s motorcycle to rush back to the Olympic Village but crashed and were injured. They spent five days in a hospital. Papatolis has said publicly that on Aug. 12 he had called Tzekos repeatedly on his telephone many times after 6.30 p.m. The IOC testers had reportedly given Kenteris and Thanou a 7.15 p.m. deadline after not being able to find them. Sources said that Kenteris told the prosecutor that if he used illegal substances it was without his knowledge, because he trusted Tzekos with whom he has since severed ties. Thanou has not yet testified. Meanwhile, weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis, who lost his bronze medal after testing positive for use of testosterone, said he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.