Tzekos says sprinters clean

Christos Tzekos, coach of top sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou who were forced to withdraw from the Athens Olympics, testified yesterday before prosecutors who are investigating why the two missed an anti-doping test and the circumstances of a motorcycle accident they claim to have been involved in. Kenteris has severed ties with Tzekos. He and Thanou testified earlier this month. Like them, Tzekos claims he has done nothing wrong. The coach is also under investigation for nutritional supplements that were found in a warehouse of his and which the National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) says contain anabolics and steroids. In a memorandum to prosecutors Spyros Mouzakitis and Athena Theodoropoulou, Tzekos said the nutritional supplements had been imported legally, though he admitted that they did not have the necessary permit from EOF. This means that he was not allowed to distribute, sell or administer the supplements to anyone. Regarding Kenteris and Thanou, Tzekos told reporters: «In the 10 years that I have been a coach, I have spent endless hours coaching these kids. They have got tired and suffered. Anxiety and weariness have been their companions and nothing else.» He said he never gave them any pharmaceutical substances and claimed he learned of their purported crash when they were already at the KAT Hospital. He said that on Aug. 12, he learned only at 7 p.m. that anti-doping inspectors were looking for his sprinters and could only notify them at 10.30 p.m. because their cell phones were switched off. Tzekos denied any relationship with the US BALCO laboratory which is suspected of supplying athletes with illegal substances. «When you are at the top, much is said about you, you know,» he said, without elaborating.

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