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Sunday, September 17, 2000
Romanian weightlifters, Iranian boxer kicked out

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The Romanian weightlifting team and an Iranian boxer were kicked out of the Sydney Olympics on Sunday for doping violations.

 The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that an Iranian boxer had been expelled from the Olympic village after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.

 The International Amateur Boxing Federation identified the fighter as Anoushirvan Nourian, who was entered in the 139-pound class.

 The federation said he was "removed from the Olympic Games as a result of testing positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition test."

 AIBA said it had not received a full report on the case and had no further comment.

 WADA said another unidentified athlete faced possible expulsion from the village for a positive test.

 The International Weightlifting Federation expelled the six-member Romanian team after two lifters failed out-of-competition tests before the Sydney Games.

 A third Romanian lifter tested positive for drugs earlier this year. Under federation rules, a country is banned from international competition for 12 months in the event of three positive cases within a year.

 Romanian lifter Traian Ciharean, a bronze medalist at the Barcelona Olympics, and Adrian Mateias failed tests administered to all 257 Olympic weightlifters.

 Earlier this year, Razvan Ilie, a 1999 world champion in the snatch at 169 3/4 pounds, tested positive. He was thrown off the team before the Olympics.

 As a result of the IWF rules, the rest of the Romanian team -- three men and one woman -- were also thrown out.

 Adrian Jigau, who lifted in the 56-kilogram class on Saturday, had his results wiped off the books.

 According to the IWF, weightlifting is the only Olympic sport in which all athletes were tested for drugs before the Sydney Games.

 The Romanian weightlifting federation last year began automatically banning for life any lifter who fails a drug test.

 At least four other weightlifters have been tossed out of the Olympics for failing pre-games drug tests: Stian Grimseth of Norway, and Chen Po-pu, world champion Chen Jui-lien and Wu Mei-yi of Taiwan. Also sent home was Taiwan coach Tsai Wen-yee.

 Tamas Ajan, general secretary of the weightlifting federation, said Romania could have paid a $50,000 fine to the IWF and stayed in the Olympics, but chose not to do so.

 "If all the Olympic committees would do what we're doing, it would be a great step toward ... making (the Olympics) clean," Ajan said.

 The World Anti-Doping Agency said there were nine potentially positive cases among the 20 "elevated results" recorded since global out-of-competition testing began in April.

 Of the nine cases, two involve athletes registered to compete in Sydney, WADA officials said. One was the Iranian boxer.

 The seven other cases were resolved before the games, with athletes either being removed from their teams or failing to qualify for the Olympics, WADA spokesman Casey Wade said.

 Eleven of the 20 "elevated" tests had been cast aside for various mitigating circumstances, he said.

 WADA has conducted more than 2,043 urine tests involving 27 summer sports in 82 nations prior to the games. About 200 test results have yet to be finalized, leaving the possibility of more positives to come.

 WADA is putting pressure on the international federations to withdraw any athletes who tested positive. It's up to the federations, not WADA, to confirm positive cases and sanction any athletes.

 WADA acknowledged the system could result in athletes who failed tests being able to compete in Sydney if their federations failed to take action.

 This could lead to a situation where athletes are stripped of medals if the positive tests are confirmed later.

 "That's a mess," WADA chairman Dick Pound said. "We're not quite sure what the rules are. But I think there ought to be a reach-back and the medals withdrawn."

 Harri Syvasalmi, a Finn who is secretary general of WADA, said: "We are working like hell. We have stressed the importance to the federations of acting as soon as possible. We don't want any of these athletes competing in Sydney."

 Syvaslami indicated that few sports were involved.

 "It's not a huge mission," he said.

 The IOC, meanwhile, is conducting its own drug tests in Sydney, both during competition and out of competition. As of Sunday, the IOC said it had no positive results.
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