IOC strips Belarussian medals
Olympic Committee strips Beijing medals from two hammer throwers for doping.
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2008 15:46 GMT

Devyatovskiy competes in the hammer final at the Olympics [GALLO/GETTY]
The International Olympic Committee have stripped the Beijing medals from two Belarus hammer throwers after they tested positive for testosterone during the games in August.

Vadim Devyatovskiy, who had won silver in the hammer at the Beijing games with a best throw of 81.61, was also handed a lifetime Olympic ban in any capacity as a second-time drugs offender.

Devyatovskiy's compatriot, world champion Ivan Tsikhan, who had captured bronze with a throw of 81.51, was disqualified and could now face a two-year ban from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a first-time offender.

Immediate ban

"The decision shall enter into force immediately," IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said after the decision taken by the IOC Executive Board.

The IOC said Poland's Adam Seroczynski, fourth in the men's kayak double 1000 metres event in Beijing, was also disqualified for testing positive for anabolic agent clenbuterol.

His team mate Mariusz Kujawski was also disqualified despite not testing positive.

Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia won the hammer gold medal, Krisztian Pars from Hungary was fourth and Japan's Koji Murofushi fifth.

The latter two will be upgraded to silver and bronze respectively.

Moreau said the Olympic Committee of Belarus must now return the medals and diplomas to the IOC which will then send them on to the upgraded athletes in Hungary and Japan.

Appeal planned

Tsikhan said in Belarus that he and Devyatovskiy would appeal to The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"We will definitely appeal the decision to CAS.

"We have quite a few grievances over the analysing procedures of our samples," he said.

Belarus sports minister Alexander Grigorov said he would support his athletes.

"Frankly I don't know why they made such a decision but we will definitely fight it in court," he said by telephone from Athens.

The Belarussians, in red, will lose both medals[GALLO/GETTY]
Olympic ban

The IAAF said several months ago it would ban the athletes once the IOC decision had been taken.

Any athlete banned for six months or more cannot take part in the next Olympic games according to a new rule introduced earlier this year to scare off drugs cheats before the Beijing Games.

This will be the second time Japan's Murofushi is awarded an Olympic medal belatedly after he was upgraded to gold at the 2004 games in Athens following the disqualification of Hungarian Adrian Annus for doping.

Nine athletes tested positive during the Beijing Olympics after extensive pre-games testing nabbed about 40 athletes for drugs while six horses in the equestrian events were also found to have been given banned substances.

The IOC conducted the largest ever doping operation with about 5,000 blood and urine tests during the Games.

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