Athletics: Adams to receive gold next week

Valerie Adams will receive her gold next week. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Valerie Adams will receive her gold next week. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Valerie Adams will receive her Olympic gold medal from the Governor General at a public ceremony at The Cloud on Auckland's waterfront next week, in what will be the first time an Olympic medal is presented in New Zealand.

Adams will return to New Zealand from Switzerland next Wednesday and the medal ceremony will take place at The Cloud that evening.

Also there will be fellow gold medallists Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Hamish Bond, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, and other medallists and members of the 2012 Olympic team.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee received the medal from disgraced Belarus shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk - it's said to be in "good condition'' - and are working on plans for the medal ceremony.

"It's exactly what I wanted,'' Adams said. "A public celebration on the night I arrive back home is wonderful. I'm looking forward to celebrating the gold medal with the people of New Zealand, as well as my family and members of the New Zealand Olympic team.''

The medal will be presented by Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand and NZOC patron, who was at the 2012 London Olympic Games to support the New Zealand team.

More than 2500 people are expected to gather at the free public event and more than 2000 tickets will be given away by radio stations.

"We've been working with Valerie to create a memorable event and are delighted to invite the people of New Zealand to share it,'' NZOC secretary general Kereyn Smith said.

"It will be a wonderful occasion that honours her achievements on the world's stage, as well the success of our proud London Olympic team.

"This is the very first time an Olympic gold medal will be presented in New Zealand and is an incredible opportunity for Kiwis to be proud and get involved.''

The ceremony will be simulcast on a big screen at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington followed by a second major fireworks display on Wellington Harbour. The fireworks taking place in both Auckland and Wellington are set to be two of the largest displays ever seen in New Zealand.

The news comes on the back of Ostapchuk's coach confessing he added a banned drug to her food.

Ostapchuk has landed a one-year ban for testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid.

The sentence was lenient because Ostapchuk was completely in the dark that she had doped, according to Alexander Vankhadlo, the head of Belarus' anti-doping agency.

Vankhadlo said that Ostapchuk's coach, Alexander Yefimov, was the only person responsible for the violation of the doping code and was banned for four years.

"Yefimov confessed that he added the banned drug metenolone into Ostapchuk's food because he was worried by her unimpressive results ahead of the Olympics," Vankhadlo told the press.

"Yefimov said that he did it at the training base in Belarus just days before the start of the Games without Ostapchuk's knowledge."

Ostapchuk became the first medallist disqualified from the London Games for doping and was stripped of her women's Olympic shot put title.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded gold to Adams after Ostapchuk provided two urine samples which were both found to contain metenolone.

Russia's Yevgeniya Kolodko was upgraded to silver medal position, with Lijiao Gong of China taking bronze.

Vankhadlo told Belarusian state media belTA that Ostapchuk had already returned the gold medal to the International Olympic Committee.

Ostapchuk had been competing in her third Olympics in London. She finished fourth in Athens in 2004 and won bronze in Beijing four years ago.

- APNZ/Newstalk ZB/nzherald.co.nz

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