Greek high jumper tests positive while Hungarian discus thrower refuses to take test
World indoor high jump champion Dimitrios Chondrokoukis and 2004 Olympic silver medallist Zoltan Kovago will both miss the Olympics.
Chondrokoukis, one of Greece’s top hopes for an athletics medal, tested positive for stanozolol. Although he denies ever taking the substance, he withdrew himself from the team.
The 24-year-old exploded on to the international scene last year as he improved his PB from 2.23m to 2.32m, finishing fifth at the European Indoors and the World Championships.
He improved his best to 2.33m to take world indoor gold in Istanbul earlier this year and leapt 2.32m in May to win the Doha Diamond League.
Meanwhile Kovago refused to undergo an out-of-competition drugs test. The 33-year-old has long been one of the world’s top discus throwers, winning the world junior title in 1998 before taking silver at the 2004 Olympics. He boasts a 69.95m PB, set in 2006, and he took bronze at the recent European Championships.
He becomes the second Hungarian discus thrower this year to commit a doping offence, following the news of Robert Fazekas testing positive. The news is reminiscent of the 2004 Games, where Fazekas won the discus but was later banned along with fellow Hungarian thrower Adrian Annus, who was similarly stripped of gold in the hammer.
Chondrokoukis and Kovago are the latest athletes to be withdrawn from the Games on the eve of the Olympics due to doping offences. They follow the likes of Moroccan distance-runner Mariem Alaoui Selsouli, who now faces a lifetime ban after news of her second positive test.
Yesterday the IAAF announced the results of retested samples from last year’s World Championships, revealing that Olympic 1500m bronze medallist Nataliya Tobias and fellow Ukrainian Antonina Yefremova were guilty of using testosterone, while Bulgarian sprinter Inna Eftimova had used human growth hormone.
Earlier this year, the IAAF also revealed that six athletes have been banned as a result of their athlete biological passport programme, which tracks the test results of athletes over a long period of time to detect any abnormalities. The banned athletes are Moroccan distance runner Abderrahim Goumri, Greek steeplechaser Iríni Kokkinaríou, Turkish distance runner Meryem Erdogan, European marathon champion Nailiya Yulamanova, and Russian middle-distance runners Svetlana Klyuka and Yevgeniya Zinurova. The ban of the latter led to Britain’s Jenny Meadows being upgraded to European indoor 800m gold.