Hungary outraged over doping scandal at Athens Olympics

04-09-2004

The Hungarian Olympic team returned from Athens with quite a medal collection - 8 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze medals. But the haul could have been bigger if two athletes, hammer thrower Adrian Annus and discus thrower Robert Fazekas were not stripped of their medals for breaching doping regulations. Along with these two, three Hungarian weightlifters were also excluded for doping offences.

Rezso Gallov is a renowned sports journalist and former sporting official:

This scandal makes me very sad because for seven years I was the state secretary for sports in this country and together with the Hungarian Olympic Committee, we very honestly and consistently we tried to do everything to make our sportsmen clean before the Olympic Games and before any other major international competition. That was our official policy. And knowing that this policy has not changed a bit since I left office in 1996, it is particularly sad and a very sad shadow on the Hungarian sport. I also have to add that there is no excuse for these two sportsmen, or actually all five.

They said they doubted the honesty of the doping control authorities and the international Olympic Committee in this case...

I have to make a personal comment on this. I have no doubt at all that these officials did everything according to the rules. I also know personally Richard Pound, the Canadian leader of the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA, and there is no reason for any Hungarian to believe that it was a particular act against the interests of the Hungarian sportsmen. This is not true and it's not just my personal impression but the majority of Hungarians think the same way. Of course, we have to accept that during those days, feverish days, some of the Hungarian fans just could not accept the harsh penalty, which however were deserved.

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