Backup “B” sample tests came back positive for 1,500m gold medalist Rashid Ramzi and four other athletes accused of blood doping at the Beijing Games, an Olympic official with knowledge of the results told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
The athletes tested positive for the new blood-boosting drug CERA in retests of their Beijing “A” samples earlier this year, with the results announced on April 28.
The second samples have since been analyzed and confirmed the positive findings, the official said on condition of anonymity because the results are considered confidential pending a hearing.
The positive results clear the way for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to open disciplinary cases against the athletes, who face being stripped of results and medals, and banned from the 2012 London Olympics.
In addition to Ramzi, the athletes are Italian cycling road race silver medalist Davide Rebellin, German cyclist Stefan Schumacher, Croatian 800m runner Vanja Perisic and Greek race walker Athanasia Tsoumeleka.
Disciplinary hearings are expected to be held at the end of the month.
A sixth athlete was initially found positive in the retesting process, but the Dominican Olympic Committee cleared women’s weightlifter Yudelquis Contreras last month after her “B” sample came back negative.