Shot putter Nadzeya Astapchuk, who has been disqualified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for doping, said in an interview with BelaPAN on Monday that she would fight for her Olympic gold medal won in London.
The IOC announced earlier in the day that the Belarusian had tested positive for the steroid metenolone and would have to return her medal.
"I have no idea how the drug could have got into my system," the athlete said. "I was told that it could take more than six months for the drug to leave the body. I had been doping tested at least 18 times before the Olympics and had always tested negative and then I was found positive exactly during the Games. I’m not an idiot to take such a drug and go to compete at the Olympics."
"I’ll vigorously fight to clear my reputation," the 31-year-old Astapchuk said. "This is the most important thing for me now. During my long career, I've always tested clean and I’ve always been clean."
Ms. Astapchuk noted that politics might have been involved. "We formed the impression that they were biased against Belarusian athletes," she said. "They may have targeted Belarusians for being from a country that they think is not good enough. I don’t want to believe they could have used mean methods to throw us out."
Ms. Astapchuk won the women’s shot put at the London Olympics with her best effort of 21.36 meters, 66 centimeters further than the best throw of runner-up Valerie Adams of New Zealand.
Ms. Astapchuk was fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics with a put of 19.01 meters and third at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with 19.86 meters.