Gold medal strongman Steiner backs anti-doping fight

Amid a tale of personal tragedy and triumph, Germany’s adopted gold medallist strongman Matthias Steiner is backing the sport's efforts to rid itself of doping cheats.

Gold medal strongman Steiner backs anti-doping fight
Photo: DPA

The super-heavyweight, fresh from winning his first Olympic weightlifting gold medal on Tuesday, said he had been tested 10 times already this year.

“I certainly believe that it’s a positive development, the fact that doping systems work and are effective,” Steiner said referring to the increased testing.

Weightlifting, along with athletics and cycling among Olympic sports, are a key front in the battle against performance-enhancing substances. Bulgaria withdrew its weightlifting team to these Games after some of their members returned positive results.

But Steiner had to overcome much more than beating the cheats to take the gold this week in Beijing. Born in Vienna, he fell out with Austrian weightlifting officials a few years ago, who didn’t believe he had what it took to become a world champion.

“He can start for Sweden, Germany, Kazakhstan or Carpetland – we don’t care,” the former deputy chairman of the Austrian weightlifting association said back in 2005. He then decided to apply for the citizenship of his late German wife, who died tragically in a car accident last year.

On the victory podium with the gold medal around his neck he showed a picture of his wife and dedicated the moment to her. “I hope and believe that she saw all this. I’m not a superstitious guy, but hope that’s the case,” Steiner said.



Germany toughens China travel warning over ‘invasive’ Covid tests

Germany has toughened its advisory against travel to China, warning that travellers could be placed under hospital quarantine for weeks upon arrival and subjected to "invasive" medical tests even if they have previously recovered from the coronavirus.

Germany toughens China travel warning over 'invasive' Covid tests
A plane flying from Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

In its latest travel advisory update, the Foreign Ministry said that the stringent measures were imposed on “people cured of Covid-19”, as well as others who test positive for antibodies because of an undetected illness, or others who had arrived on the same flight and who test positive for the coronavirus.

“Medical measures applied by the Chinese side are invasive and include in part daily blood tests and computer scans,” the Foreign Ministry said.

All travellers arriving in China are required to serve a 14-day quarantine at a location determined by the government.

While small children are “as a rule” allowed to spend their quarantine with their parents, those aged 14 years and up can be placed in isolation away from their family.

The Süddeutsche newspaper reported that the ministry had heightened its warning after two German nationals were held in hospital quarantine for several weeks.

Both had recovered from the coronavirus previously and had tested positive for antibodies, added the report, noting that they were nevertheless forced to undergo medical tests.

The newspaper said the Foreign Ministry had filed protests with the Chinese government over how the two Germans were treated.