Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

IOC targets Greek 'dope' coach

2008-09-05 05:41
Athens - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has served a lawsuit against the coach of former Greek Olympic champion Fani Halkia who tested positive for drugs during the Beijing Olympics.

IOC lawyer Petros Mahas said that the IOC had already presented its evidence to Greek prosecutors to bring charges against George Panagiotopoulos for breaking the country's anti-doping laws.

Mahas said."The IOC's target is not the athletes, but the coaches who supply them with drugs."

Halkia, 29, who was a surprise winner in the 400m hurdles at the 2004 Games, tested positive for the steroid methyltrienolone in Japan on August 10 before she travelled to Beijing.

Several doping setbacks

She became the 19th Greek athlete to test positive since April, when sports authorities redoubled efforts ahead of the Beijing Games. She now faces a two-year ban.

It was the biggest of several doping setbacks for the Greek team, prompting top IOC officials to single Greece out for criticism.

Halkia, an officer in the Greek air force, has insisted her sample was tampered with. If investigating magistrates find Greek doping laws were violated, she and others could also face criminal charges.

Another of Panagiotopoulos's runners, sprinter Dimitris Regas, was caught doping weeks before the Beijing Games.

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