A champion hammer thrower has denied reports that he paid for a taxi home with his gold medal after getting drunk during a night out celebrating his World Athletics Championships triumph.
According to Chinese media outlet Tencent, Poland's Pawel Fajdek woke up in Beijing the morning after his winning throw of 80.88 metres only to find he no longer had his precious gong.
The worried 26-year-old, who was the youngest defending gold medallist at the Championships this year, immediately contacted police to report the loss.
Officers reportedly set about helping him retrace his steps the night before and managed to trace the taxi driver - who told them Fajdek had willingly handed his medal over in payment.
Presumably after persuasion from police, the taxi driver returned the missing medal.
But Fajdek has now accused Chinese media of inventing the story.
Writing on his official Facebook page he said he was having photos taken with the taxi driver, who he said "probably drove off with the medal unknowingly."
He also criticised "stupid rumours" but said the Chinese media reaction "was logical."
"They wouldn't describe their own citizen as guilty because it's easier to blame it on the other side."
Polish journalists in Beijing to cover the championships reportedly confirmed that, having seen him at the restaurant, the athlete had "drunk a lot in the celebration party" to toast his success.
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