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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Weightlifters test positive
Weighlifting
Five weightlifters tested positive for drugs before the start of the Athens Games, the International Olympic Committee announced on Thursday.

India's Pratima Kumari Na, Hungary's Zoltan Kecskes, Morocco's Wafa Ammouri, Moldova's Victor Chislean and Turkey's Shabaz Sule have all been suspended.

None of the weightlifters has competed in the 2004 Games.

Two more as yet unnamed weightlifters have also been suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Myanmar lifter Nan Aye Khine was also thrown out of the Games after failing a drugs test on Monday.

The news comes as yet another blow to the Athens Games, still reeling from the high-profile cases of Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who both missed drugs tests before the start of the Games.

Of the lifters who tested positive, Turkey's Shabaz is the most successful, winning the European Championships and finishing third in the World Championships at 77kg in 2002.

She also finished second in the European championships in April this year.

Weightlifting has been constantly dogged by doping scandals.

Four lifters were banned during the 2000 Games in Sydney after failing drugs tests, including three Bulgarians who were stripped of their medals.

"Coming here I fully expected there would be positive tests and there could be more," said Leo Totten, head of the US weightlifting team.

"It makes the sport look bad and I'm afraid we could lose it. But we need it, we have to stop the cheating."

However, the IOC denied weightlifting has a problem with drugs.

"The percentages for the number of tests carried out against the number of positives are just the same as other sports," said IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davis.

"It's not correct to say that weightlifting is worse than other sports."





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