Olympian banned for tampering with urine sample

Updated: April 6, 2004, 11:30 AM ET
Associated Press

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgarian Olympic weightlifting champion Galabin Boevski plans to appeal an eight-year ban for tampering with his urine sample at last year's world championships.

Boevski, who won gold in Sydney in 2000, said Tuesday that he will sue the International Weightlifting Federation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"I will fight until the end. I will not surrender that easily. It's not me who has to prove my innocence -- they have to prove my guilt," Boevski said.

The international federation ruled last month that Boevski and teammates Zlatan Vanev and Georgi Markov tampered with their tests at the world championships in November in Vancouver, British Columbia.

According to federation officials, the urine samples of the three Bulgarian athletes were identical and came from one person.

Markov and Vanev, both world champions, were also given 18-month suspensions, meaning that they will miss the Athens Olympics this summer.

IWF president Tamas Ajan was quoted as saying Boevski got a longer ban because it was the second time he had failed a drug test since 1995.

Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov had a brief comment on the case: "Our weightlifters are guilty."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press