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Rio 2016: Weightlifter Stripped of Medal; 3 Others Get Drug Sanctions

Asian champion Izzat Artykov, 22, who won the bronze medal in the 69kg contest, tested positive for strychnine, a CAS statement said.

Associated Press

Updated:August 19, 2016, 3:21 AM IST
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Rio 2016: Weightlifter Stripped of Medal; 3 Others Get Drug Sanctions
Izzat Artykov. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Rio de Janerio: A weightlifter from Kyrgyzstan became the first athlete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics to be stripped of a medal after failing a drug test, while a Chinese swimmer and Brazilian cyclist were also disqualified Thursday and a Moldovan canoeist was suspended and could lose his bronze medal.

Weightlifter Izzat Artykov tested positive for strychnine — banned as a stimulant — after winning the bronze in the men's 69-kilogram division, the Court of Arbitration's anti-doping division said.

The 22-year-old lifter's medal was taken away and he was kicked out of the games.

Strychnine is a highly toxic drug often used as a pesticide, particularly for killing rodents. However, it also has a long history in sports doping, used in small doses to tighten tired muscles. Strychnine was reportedly commonly used in the early years of the Tour de France to help cyclists survive the demanding rides.

CAS referred the case to the international weightlifting federation for possible further sanctions against Artykov, who could face a two-year ban from the sport. The federation and the IOC were asked to decide on the reallocation of the medal.

Luis Javier Mosquera of Colombia is in line to be upgraded from fourth place to the bronze medal. China's Zhiyong Shi won the gold and Turkey's Daniyar Ismayilov took the silver.

Also Thursday, the arbitration court issued final verdicts in the cases of swimmer Chen Xinyi and cyclist Kleber Ramos.

The 18-year-old Chen, who finished fourth in the 100-meter butterfly, had previously accepted a "provisional suspension" after testing positive for a diuretic. She pulled out of her final event, the 50-meter freestyle.

After a hearing was held in the case, CAS said she had been formally disqualified and her fourth-place result annulled. The international swimming federation, FINA, was asked to consider any further sanctions.

Chen tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, which is listed by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a "specified substance." Athletes testing positive for those substances can receive reduced penalties because of the possibility the drug was taken inadvertently.

Ramos, meanwhile, tested positive for the blood-booster EPO in a pre-games test July 31. He had accepted a provisional suspension "on a voluntary basis" and did not request a hearing.

CAS said he has now been disqualified and kicked out of the games. His case was referred to the international cycling body, which could impose a two-year ban. Ramos competed in the men's Olympic road race on Aug. 6 but failed to finish.

In a separate case, the International Canoe Federation said Serghei Tarnovschi had been suspended after failing a pre-competition doping test. The 19-year-old Tarnovschi placed third in the 1,000 meters canoe single final Tuesday and was to compete in the 1,000 meters double on Friday with his older brother, Oleg.

The ICF said he will "now no longer be eligible and will face provisional suspension" under anti-doping rules.

ICF spokesman Richard Pettit told The Associated Press that Tarnovschi's medal had been removed pending the outcome of a hearing at CAS. Pettit declined to say what Tarnovschi was accused of taking.

Ilya Shtokalov of Russia placed fourth in the event and is positioned for the bronze if the medal is reallocated.

The Belarus men's team and the entire Romanian team were excluded from the canoe sprint competition before the games because of widespread doping.

CAS is handling doping cases at the Olympics for the first time. The International Olympic Committee handed over responsibility to CAS to try to make the process more independent.

Last week, Polish weightlifter Tomasz Zielinksi and Bulgarian steeplechaser Silvia Danekova were kicked out of the games after testing positive for banned substances.

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