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Eleven Bulgarian weightlifters fail dope tests
June 27, 2008 19:33 IST
Eleven members of the Bulgarian national weightlifting team, hoping to compete for medals at the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images], have tested positive for a banned substance, the national weightlifting federation said on Friday.
A total of 13 Bulgarian weightlifters had qualified for August's Games.
The weightlifters were tested during a training camp in the Balkan country on June 8-9 while preparing for the Olympics, Anton Kodzhabashev, the head of the federation, told Reuters.
"If the second, B-test turns (out) positive as well, we will have to say goodbye to the Olympics," Kodzhabashev said.
"They tested positive for a substance that has not been in use for 25 years. I suspect someone has dropped it there deliberately," he said, declining to make any further comment.
The Bulgarian Olympic Committee said in a statement on its web site that its management would meet on Monday to discuss the "doping scandal with the weightlifters". It gave no other details.
The failed tests will deal a blow to Bulgaria which has been on a mission to clean up weightlifting's tarnished reputation after a series of doping scandals and suspensions at previous Olympic Games.
Injury had already ruled out Bulgarian medal hope Milen Dobrev, who won the 94-kg title at the Athens Olympics four years ago.
Earlier this month, the International Weightlifting Federation gave two-year suspensions to 11 Greek weightlifters who tested positive for a banned substance in March.