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Greek lifter fails drug test

August 20, 2004 20:07 IST
Last Updated: August 20, 2004 20:20 IST

A Greek athlete has failed a drugs test, Greece officials said on Friday at the Athens Olympics which has been plagued by doping scandals.

"We won't be able to reveal the identity of the athlete until the results of the B sample are with us," a team spokesman said.

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A source close to the team, though, said the athlete concerned was weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis who won a bronze medal on Monday.

There have been a spate of positive tests announced at the Games in weightlifting and media reports about the identity of the athlete were focused on the Greek weightlifting squad.

Since the 16-day Games opened last Friday, competition has been overshadowed by a doping debacle which forced its two top athletes out of the Olympics.

On Wednesday, Greece's Olympic 200 metres champion Costas Kenteris and his training partner, 100 metres silver medallist Katerina Thanou, pulled out of the Games after missing dope tests on the eve of the Games' opening ceremony.

The Greek government vowed on Friday to crack down on any athlete who tests positive to banned substances.

"For any athlete who has taken banned substances the reaction of the government will be very hard," a government source told Reuters.

"They will be stripped of any medals, awards or other privileges according to Greek laws."

Several Greek athletes including weightlifting bronze medallist Sampanis, who won Greece's first medal at these Games, have been given honorary military officer titles.

The source said if any athletes tested positive they would also have their military rank removed.

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