NEWS

Positive samples break record

In 2004, there was a record number of cases of doping or the use of banned substances in the world of Greek athletics. Some, however, were not associated with the Olympics, while in other cases the regulations were violated but actual use was not proved. The cases that received the most publicity were those of sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who are accused, together with their coach, Christos Tzekos, of three non-appearances at locations where they said they could be found. The other major case was that of Olympic medal-winner in weightlifting, Leonidas Sampanis, who was found to have high levels of testosterone in his blood after winning the 2004 bronze medal in the 62-kilo category. Sampanis swore he was innocent, most experts testified that there was no reason for him to take the hormone before competition (the test uncovered a huge amount that could only be explained by being taken before the competition) because he was almost certain to get bronze, and therefore would have to undergo doping control – and the mystery remains. What is certain is the machine did not make a mistake. Tonia Mahaira, in swimming, was penalized because she refused to undergo a test at all. In Greece, three weightlifters tested positive (A. Akritidis, A. Constantinou and one minor who cannot be named), boxers Spyros Ioannidis (hashish), Prionas (steroids) and Parisis (diuretics), wrestlers Aftantil Xanthopoulos (hashish), Trabakopoulos (stanozol), female wrestler Efthymia Hadzitziva (diuretics), Olympic baseballers Andrew James Brack and Derek Nicholson (stanozol and diuretics respectively), Patraikos football player Dimitris Sakellaropoulos (hashish) and pole vaulter Stavros Kouroupakis (clebuterol). Soccer player A. Kaklamanos, who plays in Belgium, was found with cocaine. Two soccer players who tested positive (Njogou Niren-Deba of Panathinaikos for salbutamol and Nikos Kounenakis of OFI for corticosteroids) were later cleared because the substances were used as treatment.