Disgraced Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk says she was "framed", after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, pointing the finger at a former head athletics coach, who was arrested this year by Russia's Federal Security Service.
Ostapchuk was, this week, stripped of her London Olympics gold medal after testing positive in two separate drug tests at the Games. New Zealand's Valerie Adams was promoted to the top spot.
Talking to Belarusian newspaper Pressball, Ostapchuk has suggested she was misled by Anatoly Baduyev, the former deputy chairman of the Belarusian Athletics Federation, without her knowledge.
According to Belarusian news website Charter 97, Baduyev was detained by the Federal Security Service - formerly known as the KGB - in May for extorting money from coaches and athletes by blackmailing them with the threat of positive dope tests.
In the interview with Pressball overnight, translated by Charter 97, Ostapchuk said she was a victim.
"The person [Baduyev] - you know who I mean, the one who was involved in blackmail - he promised me long ago 'you will have problems with doping control'. Now I think his threat begins to come true, even though he no longer works with us."
In reference to a wider conspiracy Ostapchuk said she would carry out her own investigation of the charges, including the "participation of the investigating authorities".
"Anything that will be learned during the investigation will be known to everyone," she sad in the interview. "I have nothing to hide from people. I've spent a lot of efforts to become an Olympic champion, I do not need excuses. I do not want to finish a career like this.
''Athletes need to know that there is someone to rely on, from whom they can receive support and advice. We want to feel protected, instead of waiting for meanness from those who should help us.''
Meanwhile, the Belarusian government has come out in support of Ostapchuk.
An aide to the Belarusian president for physical education sport and tourism told the Belarusian Telegraph Agency the government would fight for Ostapchuk's gold medal.
Igor Zaichkov said their Olympic campaign was a "disaster".
"Both samples - A and B - tested positive," he said. "We will try to find out what happened and will investigate into the matter. Yet we will fight for Nadzeya Ostapchuk's medal and defend her interests."
Zaichkov said their poor showing was not the fault of the athletes.
"They did not meet the Olympic medal plan. In some disciplines, the performance was a complete disaster. The athletes are not to be blamed, because they worked to the best of their efforts.
"This is the fault of some of our sports officials and coaches. In the near future, we will hold a session to review the Games and make some personnel decisions."
Adams will have a significant wait before she receives the gold medal.
The International Olympic Committee is working on retrieving Ostapchuk's, but said it could take some time now she had returned to Belarus.