12 Sep 2012

Adams to get gold medal next week

11:22 pm on 12 September 2012

New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams will finally receive her Olympic gold medal at a ceremony in Auckland next week.

Adams was awarded the gold after Nedzeya Ostapchuk, of Belarus, was stripped of the London Games medal in August following a positive drugs test for steroids.

Adams is set to to return to New Zealand from Switzerland next Wednesday - the same day the New Zealand Olympic Committee has organised her medal ceremony at Auckland waterfront venue 'The Cloud'.

Her manager Nick Cowan told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Wednesday that Adams is anxious to return home to what will be a unique occasion.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We've never had a gold medal ceremony in New Zealand - and I suspect we'll probably never have another one.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for New Zealand and Valerie to celebrate and try and grab back some of the moment that she never got to have in London."

The NZOC on Wednesday praised the efforts of the International Olympic Committee for retrieving the gold medal so quickly. Secretary-general Kereyn Smith says it set strict deadlines for the medals to be returned.

"Full credit to the IOC - they moved quickly and effectively to ensure that timelines were put in place and the medals were returned and to work swiftly to ensure that we're able to make this presentation as quickly as possible. We're delighted with that as, of course, would be Valerie."

The NZOC says there will be 2500 tickets available for the Auckland ceremony at which Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae will present Adams with her medal.

Rowers Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Hamish Bond and sailors Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, who also won gold at the London Games, will attend.

NZOC wants ban extended

The NZOC on Wednesday called on the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) to appeal against a decision to give Nadzeya Ostapchuk a one-year ban.

Ostapchuk's coach Alexander Yefimov has admitted to spiking her food before the London Games, meaning the one-year ban was sufficient under the agency's rules.

However, NZOC secretary-general Kereyn Smith says Ostapchuk should at least miss the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"We understand that is a ban administered by their national doping agency, and for the crime it would seem to be a very light punishment."

Ms Smith says WADA can only appeal against the one-year ban if there is enough doubt cast on the investigation.

Adams's manager Nick Cowan says he has doubts about the explanation given about how the drugs got into Ostapchuk's system.

WADA is expected to release its findings into Ostapchuk's suspension in the next few days.