The International Olympic Committee has granted two Belarusian hammer throwers more time to fight allegations they doped at the Beijing Olympics.
|Vadim Devyatovskiy of Belarus, left, and Ivan Tsikhan face disciplinary action [GALLO/GETTY]
Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan, who won silver and bronze in Beijing, have until October 17 to provide more information explaining why they tested positive for abnormal traces of testosterone after the hammer throw final on August 17.
The athletes emerged after spending 3 1/2 hours with the International Olympic Committee's Disciplinary Commission which is examining the charges.
"We are waiting and we hope,'' silver medalist Devyatovskiy said through an interpreter.
"We know that we are clean but we are waiting for information.''
Devyatovskiy said the athletes, who were accompanied by an adviser from the Belarus athletics federation and an interpreter, received a fair hearing and presented a good case.
"When you know that it just cannot be, we were calm and reserved,'' he said.
The Belarus pair could be disqualified and stripped of their medals if found guilty of doping.
The disciplinary panel was chaired by IOC vice president Thomas Bach of Germany, and included IOC executive board members Gerhard Heiberg of Norway and Denis Oswald of Switzerland.
It has the power to disqualify athletes, but can also forward recommendations to the executive board for a final ruling.
If found guilty, Devyatovskiy's medal would go to Krisztian Pars of Hungary, while Tsikhan's bronze would go to Koji Murofushi of Japan.
Slovenia's Primoz Kozmus won the gold medal.
Devyatovskiy, 31, faces a lifetime ban if found guilty of a second doping offence.
He served a two-year drug suspension from 2000-02.
It would be a first offense for the 32-year-old Tsikhan, a three-time world champion and silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
The commission heard a third case Sunday, involving Polish canoeist Adam Seroczynski who tested positive for clenbuterol, a prohibited anabolic agent.
The 34-year-old Seroczynski was a bronze medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games in the K4 class, but competed in the flatwater K2 class at Beijing.
His 21-year-old teammate Mariusz Kujawski is not under suspicion.
The pair finished fourth, less than one-tenth of a second behind the bronze medal-winning Italian team.
Seroczynski's legal adviser Ludwik Zukowski said before the hearing he would argue that the athlete did not know how the substance entered his body.
"We don't know how it could happen,'' Zukowski said.
"The amount was so unbelievably small. Human beings don't use clenbuterol.''
American swimmer Jessica Hardy tested positive for a small amount of clenbuterol at the U.S. Olympic trials in July.
She dropped out of the team for Beijing rather than challenge the doping result, and faces a two-year ban from swimming.
The disciplinary commission will give a decision October 8 on the Seroczynski case.
The IOC hearings were held four weeks after the end of the games because of the difficulty in coordinating the attendance of all commission members, including legal and anti-doping advisers, as well as athletes.
The IOC disqualified six athletes for doping during the Beijing Games, Ukrainian heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska, Ukrainian weightlifter Igor
Razoronov, Greek hurdler Fani Halkia, North Korean shooter Kim Jong Su, Spanish cyclist Isabel Moreno and Vietnamese gymnast Thi Ngan Thuong Do.
Blonska was stripped of her silver medal, while Kim had his silver and bronze medals revoked.
The IOC carried out more than 5,000 doping tests at the Beijing Olympics.