By Duncan Mackay

Nadezhda Ostapchuk_with_coachSeptember 12 - Belarus shot putter Nadezhda Ostapchuk, stripped of the Olympic gold medal last month after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid, has been handed a one-year suspension, the country's anti-doping agency (NADA) has announced.

Ostapchuk, 31, was given a lesser sentence than a standard two-year ban after her coach Alexander Yefimov (pictured hugging Ostapchuk) allegedly admitted itintentionally spiking her food with metenolone.

"Yefimov confessed he had put the banned drug metenolone into Ostapchuk's food without her knowledge because he was worried by her performances in the lead-up to the London Games," NADA head Alexander Vankhadlo told a news conference.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) accept the decision or try to impose the full two-year ban on Ostapchuk.

Yefimov has received a four-year suspension for his part in the case.

"It was a complex investigation, which we completed on September 7," said Vanhadlo. 

"It was established that the forbidden substance was given to the athlete without her knowledge.

"Simply put, it was determined that on July 30 after the international anti-doping test the athlete's coach Aleksandr Efimov added dope to Ostapchuk's food.

"And Efimov admitted this during the investigation."

Aleksandr Efimov_Ostapcuk_coachAleksandr Efimov, Nadezhda Ostapchuk's coach, claimed that he had spiked her coffee and received a four-year ban

In an interview with Belarus' Euroradio, Efimov claimed he spiked Ostapchuk's coffee hoping it would be out of her system by the time of the Games.

The coach added that he's ashamed of what he's done and now plans to change his surname to "Idiot".

Ostapchuk, who had won the Olympic gold with a throw of 21.36 metres, was world champion in 2005 and European champion two years ago.

In July, at a meeting in Minsk, she threw 21.58, the best outdoor distance in the world since 1998.

New Zealand's Valerie Adams, who finished second behind Ostapchuk in London, was awarded the gold medal, with Russian Evgenia Kolodko promoted to silver and China's Gong Lijiao getting the bronze.

But officials in New Zealand have criticised the deicison to let Ostapchuk off lightly.

Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Graeme Steel said the notion Ostapchuk's coach "dusted her food" with the anabolic steroid metenalone is "hardly credible" adding that "some people fall on their swords to protect others".

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