NEWS

Greek swimmer fails doping test

The Greek sporting scene has been hit by a second drugs scandal in the space of a few weeks after it emerged yesterday that a professional swimmer has failed a doping test. The Greek Swimming Federation (KOE) confirmed yesterday that one of its athletes, whose name has not been revealed, failed an out-of-competition doping test carried out by the Greek Anti-Doping Organization (ESKAN) earlier this year. The results of tests on the B sample, which would confirm the doping offense, are not yet known. KOE issued a statement saying it had been informed on April 1 that the athlete’s sample had tested negative for banned substances but that it was then re-examined. It is not clear what caused ESKAN to look at the sample again but it appears that it is linked to the investigation into the use of illegal substances by sportsmen and women that is being carried out by prosecutor Andreas Karaflos. He is thought to have asked for all recent samples taken from Greek athletes to be checked again. The probe was launched last month after 11 Greek weightlifters failed doping tests. It is believed that the weightlifters tested positive for the potent steroid methyltrienolone. Sources said that the same substance was found in the swimmer’s sample. The swimming federation said that it was notified only yesterday that the swimmer had tested positive upon re-examination. It insisted that the development should not detract from the performances of other athletes. «KOE expresses its regret at this incident, which in no way can blacken the efforts of hundreds of athletes of our national teams and the 51 athletes that have already made Greece’s Olympic team.» The government has promised to clamp down on doping in sports in the wake of the recent weightlifting scandal and Deputy Culture Minister Yiannis Ioannidis, who is responsible for sports, met with the board of the Greek Weightlifting Federation (EOAB) and asked for all of them to step down and hold elections for a new board to take over the administration of the sport.