Polish star lifter to miss Games

Weightlifting world recordholder Szymon Kolecki of Poland appears almost certain to miss the Athens Olympic Games after failing a drug test, his national weightlifting federation PFPC said. «The test was carried out on June 26 during the Polish championships. According to the results Kolecki had taken the anabolic steroid nandrolone,» said PFPC training chief Marek Golab. Kolecki, who won a silver medal at the Sydney Games in 2000, would undergo further tests in several days, Golab said. Their results will determine whether Kolecki will be allowed to compete in Athens. «The way it looks right now, he doesn’t stand much of a chance,» Golab said. Greece’s Kakhi Khakiasvili, a triple-gold medalist at the past three Olympiads, is preparing to compete in the 94-kilogram category at the Athens Olympics, where, prior to the latest developments, he was expecting to battle against the 23-year-old Polish weightlifter. Khakiasvili will be striving for a record fourth gold medal in Olympic weightlifting, as will his teammate Pyrros Dimas, also a winner of gold medals at the last three Olympiads, in the 85-kilogram category. Only one other weightlifter, Naim Suleymanoglu, has also managed to win Olympic gold three times, but the Turkish star has now retired. He aimed for a fourth gold medal at the Sydney Olympics but failed to complete a single lift. Returning to the Polish team for the upcoming Olympics, Golab, the training chief, said that, besides Kolecki, three other Polish lifters who had planned to compete in Athens have already been disqualified from competing in next month’s Games after testing positive for banned substances. Kolecki holds the world record in the 94kg category after lifting a weight of 232.5kg. Away from weightlifting, American triple Olympic champion Marion Jones, who failed to quailify for the 100-meter event in Athens after ending fifth at the US Olympic trials last week, withdrew from the 200-meter event on the weekend. But the star 28-year-old athlete and mother, qualified for the Athens long jump event after soaring an impressive 7.11 meters to win at the US Olympic trials last Thursday. It was the second best leap recorded in the world this year. (AFP, AP, Kathimerini)