Sun, Sep 07, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Belarusian hammer throw medalists test positive

SUSPENDEDThe IAAF said that Vadim Devyatovsky and Ivan Tsikhan tested positive and that it would refer their cases to the IOC, which will give a final ruling this month

AP , BRUSSELS

The head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Friday that the Belarusian silver and bronze medalists in the men’s Olympic hammer throw competition have tested positive for doping and would be provisionally suspended.

Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan, who finished second and third in Beijing, are still being investigated for doping offenses at the games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and risk being stripped of their medals.

“Listen, they were tested and it was positive. They were tested for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ sample,” IAAF president Lamine Diack told reporters.

The substance showing in the samples taken in Beijing was testosterone, said another IAAF official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the IOC investigation was still ongoing.

“For the IAAF it is clear. It will be a suspension,” Diack said at the end of the Golden League competition in Brussels. “Now it goes to the level of the IOC but for us, it is clear.”

The Belarus Athletics Federation said earlier this week that both Devyatovskiy and Tsikhan deny the accusations.

The IOC is expected to rule on the case later this month, and if it follows the IAAF conclusions, it would make for the biggest doping scandal at the track competition in Beijing.

The two Belarusians would become the second and third track and field medalists to be stripped of their medals.

“The IOC will still wait some time before taking its decision,” Diack said.

During the Games, Ukrainian heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska was disqualified and had to give up her silver medal for testing positive. She was given a life ban since it was her second doping offense.

Devyatovskiy’s silver would go to Krisztian Pars of Hungary, while Tsikhan’s bronze would go to Koji Murofushi of Japan. Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia won the gold medal.

The 31-year-old Devyatovskiy faces a lifetime ban if found guilty of a second doping offense. He served a two-year drug suspension from 2000 to 2002.

It would be a first offense for the 32-year-old Tsikhan, a three-time world champion who was a silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The hammer throw event was also tainted by doping at the 2004 Athens Olympics, when Hungary’s Adrian Annus was stripped of the gold medal. That medal then went to Murofushi, who now could benefit again from a rival’s doping violation.

The IOC carried out more than 5,000 doping tests during the Games.

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