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Sunday, September 17, 2000
Romania weightlifting team expelled from Olympics for drugs

 SYDNEY (AP) -- The Romanian weightlifting team was thrown out of the Sydney Olympics after two lifters failed drug tests before the games.

 International Olympic Committee director general Francois Carrard said Sunday (Saturday night EDT) that the expulsion of the Romanian lifting team was ordered by the International Weightlifting Federation.

 Under federation rules, any nation is suspended from competition for the rest of that year if three or more of its weightlifters test positive for banned drugs. A third Romanian weightlifter tested positive earlier this year.

 "The federation has a rule that if three test positive, the entire team is suspended," Carrard said.

 Carrard also said pre-games tests by the World Anti-Doping Agency had recorded 20 suspected positives. Of those, nine had been identified as "problematic," including two cases involving athletes in the Olympic village, he said.

 Carrard did not identify the athletes or federations involved but said the cases were separate from the Romanian weightlifters. He said it was up to the federations to sanction the athletes according to their own rules.

 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.

 "We would be happy if they didn't pay this. We would be happy if the Romanian weightlifters stay away from the games," Ajan said.

 He said the IWF is leading the effort to keep drugs out of the sport.

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

 The IOC is carrying out its own drug testing in Sydney apart from those of the federations. Carrard said there have been no positive results so far in those tests.

 Traian Ciharean, a bronze medalist at the Barcelona Olympics, and Adrian Mateias failed drug tests administered to all 257 Olympic weightlifters. They were expelled from their team.

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

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

 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.

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