Scepticism over disgraced shot putter's doping claim
Doubts were expressed in the sporting press on Wednesday about claims that disgraced shot put champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk's coach had doped her food without her knowledge.
Fairfax Media reported the head of New Zealand's anti-doping agency as saying the story lacked credibility.
"Some people fall on swords to protect others," Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Graeme Steel said.
Ostapchuk was stripped of her London Olympics gold medal the day after testing positive in two separate drug tests, and New Zealand's Valerie Adams was promoted to the top spot.
Her coach Alyksandr Yefimov now says he "dusted her food" with the anabolic steroid metenalone. He has been banned for four years, while the athlete has been banned for one year.
Steel told Fairfax Media while the story wasn't impossible, it was "hardly credible" that the coach of a potential gold-medal winning athlete would act in such a manner.
Adams's manager Nick Cowan also said Ostapchuk's sudden boost in form began two months before the Games.
Ostapchuk has returned her gold medal. It will be presented to Adams in Auckland next week, in the first-ever Olympic gold ceremony on New Zealand soil.