POSTED: November 19th 2009

Coe happy after 'top-up tests' catch five more Beijing dope cheats

Seb Coe: testing system validated /
Seb Coe: testing system validated /

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

LAUSANNE: Rashid Ramzi, Bahrain's Olympic 1500m winner, has been stripped of his gold medal after being identified among five Bejing Games athletes who tested positive for new blood-booster Cera.

Ramzi, 29, faces a two-year suspension though he is expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The prospective new gold medallist is Kenya's Asbel Kipruto Kiprop, who had finished second behind Ramzi. Nicolas Willis of New Zealand could go from bronze to silver with France's fourth-place finisher Mehdi Baala taking bronze.

Lord Seb Coe, chairman of London 2012 and an International Athletics vice-president, praised the decision, saying: “Cheats cannot prosper in our sport and people will realise that sooner or later. This one was high profile but it shows the quality of our testing procedures now."

Earlier this week Italy's Davide Rebellin ‘lost’ his Olympic cycling road race silver medal taken away after a positive dope test.

Also facing suspension in similar circumstances to Ramzi are German cyclist Stefan Schumacher, Croatian 800m runner Vanja Perisic and Greek race walker Athanasia Tsoumeleka. None won a medal.

Cleared by B sample

A sixth athlete, women's weightlifter Yudelquis Contreras, was initially found positive in the retesting process, but she was cleared by the Dominican Olympic Committee after her B sample re-tested negative.

IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist said: “This is a good message, it sends a serious warning to people. Even though you may not be caught at the competition today you may be identified tomorrow. That is a deterrent, for sure."

The International Olympic Committee had already disqualified nine other athletes for doping in Beijing.

Clarifying the testing system, the IOC said: "As part of its zero-tolerance policy against doping, the IOC is storing samples collected during the Olympic Games for eight years. This allows the IOC to analyse samples retroactively should new fully validated tests to detect new prohibited substances/methods become available.

"The latest round of further analyses, which began in January, took advantage of improved technology to seek evidence of the prohibited use of Cera and insulin. Most of the work was conducted at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, in close collaboration with the accredited laboratories in Paris and Cologne."

Keywords · Ramzi · dope tests · Coe · 2008 Olympic Games · Beijing

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