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24 May - 11:10 pm NZ
Updated at 2:09 pm on 14 August 2012
Drug Free Sport New Zealand says suspicions were raised about Olympic shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk even before she tested positive for a steroid and was stripped of her gold medal.
New Zealand's Valerie Adams, who had to settle for silver when well beaten by Ostapchuk on the day, has belatedly been given the gold and thus successfully defends the title she won at the 2008 Olympics.
She told the BBC that the decision was "encouraging for those athletes like myself who are proud to compete cleanly... The system works, and doping cheats are caught."
Drug Free Sport general manager Jane Kernohan told Nine to Noon Ostapchuk's appearance and improved performance had already sparked questions.
"Those kind of signals do raise concerns for us," Ms Kernohan says, "and I think that Ostapchuk is probably an athlete that everyone looked at and thought, well, if they can't catch her doping, then what can the programme catch?"
Ironically, British discus thrower Brett Morse apologised to his Twitter followers last week after accusing Ostapchuk of doping.
Every medal winer at the London Games was tested for drugs and while 12 athletes were excluded as a result, Ostapchuk is the first to be stripped of a medal.
She says, however, that she'll fight to clear her name (Reuters reports), saying she'd been tested 16 times since April, most recently just before she went to London, without a positive result.
She said you'd have to be a complete idiot to take drugs just before a major competition, and she has also accused Olympic organisers of prejudice against Belarussian athletes.
Ostapchuk says she'll wait for the Belarussian delegation to return from London before deciding what to do next, but media in Belarus are reporting she will appeal against the disqualification.
Belarus journalist Pavel Sverdlov told Morning Report the 31-year-old adamantly denies the doping charge and says she has never had problems like this in her career.
Sport New Zealand chief executive Peter Miskimmin says Belarus could demand new tests but typically the original results stand.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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