Coach hits back at insinuations of steroid use

Track and field coach Christos Tzekos reacted angrily yesterday to insinuations in two UK newspapers that he and two of the athletes he trains, sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, are implicated in the THG doping scandal that has erupted. Late on Thursday, agencies reported that four people were indicted in San Francisco for trading in THG, a new type of steroid until recently undetectable. Articles published separately yesterday in the Observer and the Independent on Sunday, quoted an August 2002 e-mail from Victor Conte, one of the indicted individuals, to a coach as saying about a certain steroid that «We might also want to somehow get this information to the coach for the Greek athletes (name deleted) and (name deleted) so that nobody tests positive.» Both articles then went on at length about suspicions involving Tzekos, Kenteris and Thanou. Kenteris is the reigning Olympic and European champion in the 200 meters and a former world champion. Thanou is the reigning European champion at 100 meters and winner of the silver at the Sydney Olympics. «The Observer article referring to me is defamatory and a cowardly attack on me. I do not know (Observer reporter Duncan Mackay), never have talked to him,» said Tzekos in a letter.