Halkia and coach charged over doping

Former Olympic champion hurdler Fani Halkia, along with her coach and two more athletes, were charged with criminal doping offenses yesterday over failed drugs tests in the runup to the Beijing Games. Halkia, 400-meter runner Dimitris Regas, 200-meter sprinter Tassos Gousis and Halkia’s coach Giorgos Panayiotopoulos face up to five years in prison after the athletes tested positive for the steroid methyltrienelone. Halkia, 29, won the gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 but now faces a fight to restore her reputation even though she insists that she never knowingly took banned substances. «There is no evidence that Halkia deliberately took illegal substances or that Panayiotopoulos is a moral instigator,» Giorgos Agiostratitis, the pair’s lawyer, told Reuters. «I think the charges will be overturned during the trial.»