Members Of The Greek Weightlifting Team Test Positive, Coach Suspended
Athens, Greece (AHN) - Greek Olympic weightlifting coach Christos Iakovou has been suspended after 11 out of 14 members of Greece's national weightlifting team have tested positive for banned substances during an out-of-competition drugs test on March 7.
The names of the athletes were not released awaiting confirmation of the out-of-competition tests. The Greek Weightlifting Federation said it would wait for the results of the test of the B samples before conducting a special investigation.
Iacovou, 60, a former weightlifter and one of Greece's' most successful coaches, has steered the team with five Olympic gold medals along with five silver and two bronze since the 1992 Barcelona Games. He tendered his resignation after the results came out and has been suspended.
"National coach Christos Iakovou ... offered his resignation to the governing board of the Greek Weightlifting Federation," the federation said in a statement. "The governing board has suspended Mr. Iakovou until light is shed on the case."
International Weightlifting Federation general secretary Yannis said in a statement: "If the results are confirmed, this would be a black page in the bright history of weightlifting."
"But this would not cancel the golden (successes) that Greece has enjoyed in weightlifting in recent years," Sgouros adds.
Greece could find itself without a weightlifting team at the Olympic Games in Beijing in August if the secondary tests also turn out positive.
On Monday, Sports minister Yiannis Ioannidis called an emergency meeting of all the leaders of the country's main sporting federations.
Said Ioannidis: "I cannot comment on which substances the athletes were allegedly taking because the case is ongoing and I can't say anything. We have no reason to have any suspicion regarding athletes who brought the country glory in the past."
"This is a very unpleasant development ... they are nearly all members of the Olympic team." Ioannidis adds.
The unscheduled out-of-competition tests were conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency upon orders of the International Weightlifting Federation.
Greek federation officials and sports ministry are unavailable to confirm the report or make further comment.
this is the biggest dope scandal in my country and propably one of the biggest world wide.
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