Female weightilfter pulled before competing

Updated: August 22, 2004, 3:48 AM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- A former world champion Russian weightlifter was pulled from the Olympics on Saturday because of a positive drug test, a team official said.

Albina Khomich was barred from competing in Saturday's 165-pound (75-kg) heavyweight division by the international weightlifting federation, said Alexander Rattner, a Russian Olympic committee spokesman.

Khomich tested positive in a pre-competition screening by the federation, Rattner said. A backup sample will be analyzed Sunday to verify the result, he said.

Khomich, 23, was world champion in her weight class in 2001. She finished second at the world championships in 2002 and 2003.

She's the ninth weightlifter to have failed a drug test in Athens.

Friday, India's Sanamacha Chanu was stripped of her fourth-place finish in the 117-pound (53-kg) division by the International Olympic Committee. She tested positive for furosemide, a banned diuretic that can be used as a masking agent.

Thursday, the international federation suspended Wafa Ammouri of Morocco, Zoltan Kecskes of Hungary, Viktor Chislean of Moldova, Pratima Kumari Na of India and Sule Sahbaz of Turkey. All were caught during pre-Olympics testing. Earlier, Myanmar's Nan Aye Khine was expelled by the IOC for steroids after finishing fourth at 105½ pounds (48kg).

Greek lifter Leonidas Sampanis, a bronze medalist in Monday's 137-pound (62kg) category, is under investigation after an initial sample tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone. The backup is being tested.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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