Ten lifters deny drug charges

Ten of the 11 professional weightlifters found to have failed doping tests denied yesterday knowingly taking banned substances. In their written depositions given to a prosecutor probing the doping allegations, the athletes reportedly also expressed their confidence in former national weightlifting coach Christos Iakovou, who resigned last month after being implicated in the controversy. Evangelia Kassiapi, the 11th weightlifter who is being represented by prominent lawyer Alexis Kouyias, is to face the same prosecutor on Wednesday after receiving extra time to prepare her testimony. Meanwhile, the backup doping samples of all 11 athletes have also tested positive for a banned steroid, The Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed source. Laboratory results in the German city of Cologne have confirmed the results of tests first announced on April 4, which revealed the presence of the potent steroid methyltrienolone, AP said. The agency cited a senior Greek judicial official who asked not to be named because the investigation is ongoing.