Olympic Athlete Wanted Everyone to Think She Smuggled Steroids

Olympic Athlete Wanted Everyone to Think She Smuggled Steroids

Madiea Ghafoor was eager to admit using steroids because the truth was far worse.

Madiea Ghafoor, a 400-meter sprint specialist who represented The Netherlands at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, tried to convince a court that she thought she was smuggling a car load full of anabolic steroids and doping products. The judge didn’t buy it. And the truth turned out to be far worse.

Ghafoor was stopped at a routine border checkpoint in Emmerich when she entered Germany alone by car on June 18, 2019. She told customs officials (Zollfahndungsamt or ZFA) that she was on her way to a training camp in Dusseldorf. They didn’t believe her.

Ghafoor was smuggling huge quantities of Ecstasy and Methamphetamine into Germany.

The ZFA searched her vehicle and found 25 bags of drugs wrapped in aluminum and plastic in the trunk. The drugs were not anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drug. They turned out to be 50 kg of MDMA (Ecstasy) and 2 kg of crystal methamphetamine. The drugs had an estimated street value of over two million euros.

Ghafoor pleaded ignorance to the fact that she was smuggling Ecstasy and meth. Her defense strategy rested on the claim that she thought her car was full of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. It was not a very convincing defense.

Ghafoor was charged with drug smuggling by at the Kleve District Court in July 2019. The 27-year old Olympic athlete pleaded not guilty. But Ghafoor was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 8-1/2 years in prison by a German court on November 4, 2019.

Ghafoor adamantly refused to identify who had supplied her with the drugs. She cited fears for her and her family’s safety as the reason for refusing to snitch on her supplier.

Ghafoor was born and raised in Amsterdam to Pakistani immigrants. Ghafoor has competed internationally in various track events including the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter sprints.

Ghafoor’s best event was the 400-meters. She won a bronze medal in the women’s 400-meter sprint at the 2011 Talinn European Athletics Junior Championships. She competed as a member of the Dutch 4×400-meter sprint relay at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.

Ghafoor plans to appeal the 8-1/2 year prison sentence. She remains detained in a German jail pending the outcome of the appeal.

  • Church, B. (November 5, 2019). Dutch Olympian jailed after 110 pounds of drugs found in car. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/05/sport/madiea-ghafoor-drugs-dutch-spt-intl/index.html

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