Rio Olympics 2016: Ian Ferguson welcomes athletes calling out drug cheats

New Zealand's most successful Olympian has welcomed the calling out of drug cheats by clean competitors at the Rio Games. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand's most successful Olympian has welcomed the calling out of drug cheats by clean competitors at the Rio Games. Photo / Brett Phibbs

New Zealand's most successful Olympian has welcomed the calling out of drug cheats by clean competitors at the Rio Games.

Ian Ferguson, who won three gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and another gold in Korea four years later, told Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB that drug cheats needed to be forced out of top flight sport.

"It's been around for a long time as a problem," he said in an interview to be aired this afternoon. "They've always had to overlook countries like Russia and China doing it. Pretty much everyone knows what they're doing.

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"Every other county has cleaned up. New Zealand spends so much money just on making sure our testing and making sure our own athletes are clean. Well, other countries aren't spending that money. They're spending it on the drugs and they're getting away with it.

"The IOC (International Olympic Committee) really needs to take this on board, that everybody else is just absolutely finished with all this crap ... it's time for everybody to get clean now - and that's what the athletes are saying. Let's all be clean and get on with it."

Ferguson competed in five Olympic Games, starting with Montreal in 1976, and was New Zealand's flag-bearer in 1988, and his five medals is a New Zealand record he shares with fellow kayaker Paul MacDonald and equestrian veteran Sir Mark Todd.

On a more positive note, Ferguson was delighted with seeing canoe slalom ace Luuka Jones win a silver medal in Rio.

He said her triumph would be a great boost for all forms of kayaking in New Zealand and couldn't have been better timed.

Ferguson said New Zealand kayaking will benefit massively from the dual boost of Jones winning a silver and the recent opening of his south Auckland whitewater park which includes an Olympic-class course.

"It's gold for us but it's also really gold for New Zealand kayaking because we've actually got a white water course that is the best in the world," he said of the park which has two courses for beginners and experts.

"We've got two rivers - a grade two for learners and a grade three/four which is an Olympic course - and it is the hardest and best course in the world.

"So our athletes have now got something they can train on for the next Olympics."

Other Olympics drugs news ...

The Polish Weightlifting Federation said it had received information from the Commission Against Doping in Sport that Adrian Zielinski, who won a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012, has tested positive for a performance-enhancement substance, nandrolone.

On its website, the federation said the sample was taken from Zielinski on July 1 during a competition in Poland. Polish media reported that Zielinski would not be allowed to compete in Rio and was preparing to return to Poland.

He is quoted as denying taking banned substances and said he had no idea how the substance could have been found in his body. The federation said he has a legal right to a B sample.

Earlier in the week Zielinski's brother Tomasz, also a weightlifter, was also sent home from Rio after testing positive for nandrolone, a steroid.

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The IAAF has suspended the Kenyan Olympic track team's manager over allegations he sought bribes from undercover reporters to protect athletes from doping tests.

The track governing body said that Michael Rotich, who was sent home from the Rio Olympics last weekend, was suspended for 180 days while it investigates.

Rotich is the fourth athletics federation official in Kenya to be put under investigation for attempting to cover up doping.

Meanwhile, the athlete caught up in a second Kenyan doping scandal at the Olympics said he had "explained everything".

Ferguson Rotich, who ran on the opening day of athletics in Rio, is being investigated after a coach was found with his accreditation and pretended to be the runner at a doping test.

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A Dutch judge has rejected gymnast Yuri van Gelder's legal bid for reinstatement to the Netherlands' Olympic team in time to compete in Monday's rings final.

The brief written decision by Judge Ronald Boonekamp can be appealed, but in a text message to Associated Press, Van Gelder's lawyer said there was "no time" to appeal ahead of the final.

The decision followed a high-stakes hearing in a packed Dutch courtroom that was the latest twist in 33-year-old Van Gelder's turbulent career.

Alongside his 2005 world title, it has also featured a ban for cocaine use and being dropped from a Dutch World Championships team for alleged drug use.

Van Gelder had argued he was unfairly thrown out of Rio by team managers on Monday for late-night drinking and missing an early morning training session.

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A Brazilian cyclist has been suspended after failing a doping test before the Olympics.

The international cycling federation, UCI, said Kleber Ramos tested positive for CERA, a version of the blood-boosting drug EPO, on July 31.

The test came a week before Ramos competed in the Olympic road race. He did not finish.

The 30-year-old was on a UCI list of provisionally suspended athletes with analysis of the backup "B" sample still pending.

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