Halkia to face new probe into doping

Former Olympic champion Fani Halkia and her coach could face a prosecutor as early as next week after judicial authorities in Greece ordered a probe into the hurdler’s exclusion from the Beijing Olympics for doping offenses. Leading prosecutor Panayiotis Poulios yesterday ordered an investigation into the failed drug tests of Halkia and sprinter Tassos Gousis, who was also barred from the Games. Poulios has asked prosecutor Constantinos Simitzoglou to look into whether the athletes have broken Greece’s doping laws. The role of Halkia’s coach, Giorgos Panayiotopoulos, and Gousis’s trainer, Theodoros Gatzios, will also be examined. Halkia was officially expelled from the Beijing Olympics on Monday after her B sample confirmed traces of the steroid methyltrienolone in her system. Halkia, who won gold in Athens four years ago, tested positive on August 10. «This decision shows the determination of the IOC to broaden the fight against doping to those behind athletes,» said the International Olympic Committee. The IOC rejected Halkia’s defense that she had never used the steroid and that her sample had been subject to «acts of tampering by third parties.» She now faces a two-year ban from the sport but the IOC has urged Greek authorities to investigate her coach, Panayiotopoulos, for possible criminal offenses. This will be the third investigation into doping carried out by prosecutors in Athens over the last three months. Probes into the failed tests of 11 weightlifters and swimmer Yiannis Drymonakos are already under way.