Greece's Olympic 200metres champion Kostas Kenteris, who faces exclusion from the Athens Olympics for failing to show up at a doping test, insisted yesterday that he is not a drugs cheat.
"I suffer a great injustice. With all sincerity, I have never made use of illegal substances," Kenteris said.
The sprinter was speaking as he left hospital where he has been treated since Friday for minor injuries suffered in a mysterious motorbike accident hours after he failed to show up at the test.
Kenteris and training partner Katerina Thanou have recovered from their injuries in the accident which is said to have happened hours after they failed to attend a mandatory drugs test last Thursday.
Kenteris and Thanou are due to learn their fate at the hands of the IOC's Disciplinary Commission on Wednesday. Kenteris and Thanou refused to confirm whether or not they will still take part in the Games should he be cleared by the IOC on today..
"All the people who have been crucifying me on television are the same people who were standing next to me for photographs after each one of my great successes," Kenteris said.
"After crucifixion comes resurrection," Kenteris said.
A Greek sports official has said that Kenteris and Thanou, silver medallist in the 100 metres at the 2000 Games, panicked when being warned that they might undergo a drugs test in the athletes' village.
Thanou, who left the hospital separately 30 minutes after Kenteris was equally defiant. "The people's love gives me strength to continue my struggle. I will continue struggling for the country that I love," said the Sydney Olympics 100 metre silver medallist.
The Greek Olympic Committee (HOC) has excluded them from the country's Olympic team pending the IOC investigation into the matter.
Meanwhile, Greek prosecutors continued an investigation into the athletes' mysterious motorcyle accident.