Athletes claim Leonid Shvetsov supplied drugs

2010-11-02 00:00

Ex-South African and world marathon Champion Mark Plaatjies is one of a number of leading athletes in North America who are claiming that two time Comrades Winner Leonid Shvetsov was a well known supplier of EPO and other drugs to Athletes.

The Russian, who was part of the Eddy Hellebuyck’s training group during the preparation for the 1996 Olympics, is said to have had kept a store of EPO in his fridge and sold this to other athletes. It is claimed he also offered anabolic steroids.

Shvetsov retired from competition after the 2009 Comrades, which he lost to Stephen Muzinghi. Contacted at his home in Saratov, Russia, where he now operates a car-service business and coaches Russian distance runners, Shvetsov denied ever taking any performance-enhancing drugs — or providing them to athletes (including Hellebuyck) in Albuquerque. Shvetsov said he occasionally advised Hellebuyck on how to deal with pain issues Hellebuyck was suffering from. “I tried to explain to him which [supplement] is for which problem. But Eddy is a somewhat illiterate person … I really don’t know why [Hellebuyck would say that I gave him EPO]. Eddy didn’t have the best personal relations with me … Eddy is a very greedy person and thinks only about money. Personally, human relationships for him is nothing.”

As for the charges made by Raymer and other athletes, Shvetsov said he was surprised that he had such a reputation, and again denied any involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. He attributed the allegations to other athletes’ “envy” of his success, general suspicion of Russian athletes, and the fact that he is a medical doctor by training.

2500 years after the first marathon, the message from the battlefields of Marathon was delivered to the city of Athens in a mere 2 hours 12 minutes and 40 seconds by Kenyan Raymond Brett.

Jonathon Kipkorir, Edwin Kimutai and Julius Korir joined Brett through 30 km in 1:34:11, but the consistent climb and heat had taken their toll, with runners being shed on the constant down into the city. Kipkorir, the pre-race favourite was last off Brett’s slipstream at 37 km and dropped back to finish almost 500 metes adrift in 2:14:05. Kimutai took bronze in 2:15:21.

The women’s race was clear-cut from the gun with the unheralded Rasa Drazdauskaite showing her colours by beating Olga Glok into second.

Back in the province, Zimbabwean Richard Nene won the Stonebridge 20 km race in one hour seven minutes, which is a good indication of the hills encountered on the second half of the race. The Mr Price runner got the better of Glenwood Harriers’ Gerald Munetsi, who was awarded a time of 68 minutes, with Stella’s Nkonsinathi Ngcongo filling the final podium position.

Nonsikelelo Mbambo won the women’s race ahead of the experienced Janine Engels, who not only finished second, but also left many younger contenders in her wake with her ninety one minute finish.

Mbambo from Natal Carbineers scored her rare but useful victory in one hour 29 minutes, the only woman to dip under the ninety minute barrier. Jadi Clark of the Stella club was another new name on the podium in third position.

The talented Munyaradzi Jari added another victory to his list by taking 31 minutes 22 seconds for the relatively flatter 10 km event.

In the absence of the provinces’ leading short distance athletes, Maureen Slack was first to the line in the 10 km in a slow 45 minutes 24 seconds.

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