Last night’s announcement by the IOC that Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk had tested positive for doping, promoting NZ’s Valerie Adams to the gold-medal position, has been met by a brick wall in Belarus.
Beneath the headline “Nadezhda Ostapchuk still Olympic champion for Belarus” (let’s not get stuck on differing spellings), the Berlarusian Telegraph Agency reports:
Belarus still recognizes Nadezhda Ostapchuk as an Olympic champion, Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister of Belarus Cheslav Shulga told media on 13 August.
The official said: “Some mistake or misunderstanding may have happened. We still recognize Nadezhda Ostapchuk as our Olympic champion”.
He confirmed that the sportswoman went through a drug test on 30 July and came out clean. “Let’s wait for the official decision of the International Olympic Committee. The Belarusian side will not take an action for now,” said the Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister.
He remarked he refused to link the event to the scandal involving the disqualification of another Belarusian athlete Ivan Tikhon. “The decision on Tikhon was unethical and wrong. I refuse to believe that the Olympic movement has political connections. But facts state otherwise,” said Cheslav Shulga.
(Hammer thrower Tikhon has had a number of positive results; he was banned from the 2012 games after a 2004 sample was retrospectively found to be positive.)
Despite the refusal to accept the decision, the Telegraphic Agency is no longer sporting this story, which was still on its front page an hour after the news broke last night:
There may be other embarrassments awaiting the Belarusian shot putter.
The newspaper Nasha Niba reports:
[President] Aliaksand Lukashenka has already decorated Nadzeja Astapchuk with the Order For Merit to the Fatherland of the III class.
Meanwhile, a cost-saving opportunity for the IOC. Scrap all that expensive lab-testing and simply put National list MP Tau Henare on a retainer.