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September 17, 2000
Romanian lifters disqualified en masse
The Romanian weightlifting team has been banned from the rest of the Sydney Olympics with immediate effect for doping offences, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said on Sunday.
"We have asked the Romanian team to withdraw. The ban is immediate and the team will take no further part in the Games," IWF General-Secretary Tamas Ajan told Reuters.
Under IWF rules, a national federation is automatically banned for one year if three or more of its weightlifters fail doping tests during a calendar year.
Romanian weightlifters Traian Ciharean and Andrei Mateias were expelled on Friday after failing dope tests, while a third man, Razvan Ilie, tested positive in May.
The Romanians acknowledged on Saturday they had been banned but said the IWF had allowed their remaining lifters to stay on and compete until the end of the Games.
Romanian weightlifting team coach and former Olympic champion Niku Vlad said on Sunday he was still waiting to hear if the ban would take effect immediately or only after Sydney.
"Something stinks about this (the positive tests). We've put a lawyer in charge of the situation," he said.
Ciharean, bronze medallist at the 1992 Olympics, and heavyweight lifter Mateias both tested positive for the anabolic steroid methandienone and were banned for life by Romania's Olympic Committee.
Ilie, 1999 world snatch champion in the 77 kg class, also tested positive for methandienone four months ago and was banned for life from Olympic competition.
The IWF ban means the end of the Olympics for their team mates Marioara Munteanu, who was due to compete in the women's 53 kg event, Valeriu Calancea (men's 85 kg) and Florin Vlad (men's 105 kg). Another Romanian, Adrian Jigau, competed in the men's 56 kg on Saturday.
"These doping offences put a black spot on the entire Romanian Olympic delegation," Romanian Olympic team deputy chief Cucu Predescu said on Saturday.
Three Taiwanese weightlifters have also tested positive this year but Ajan said their cases were different and they would not be subjected to a year's ban.
He said this was because two of those who failed dope tests, women weightlifters Chen-Jui-lien and Wu Mei-yi, had been tested by their national association only.
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