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Female weightilfter pulled before competing

8/22/2004

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.