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Romanian weightlifting medallist fails Rio Olympic drug test

A Romanian weightlifter who won a bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics could lose his medal after failing a doping test. Gabriel Sincraian tested positive for excess testosterone, the International Weightlifting Federation said Thursday.

Gabriel Sincraian tested positive for excess testosterone

Gabriel Sincraian, who won bronze in the men's 85-kilogram category in Rio, tested positive for excess testosterone. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

A Romanian weightlifter who won a bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics could lose his medal after failing a doping test.

Gabriel Sincraian, who won bronze in the men's 85-kilogram category in Rio, tested positive for excess testosterone, the International Weightlifting Federation said Thursday. The test was connected to the Olympics, the IWF said without specifying exactly when it was taken.

An IWF statement originally listed Sincraian among a group of lifters who had been "disqualified" from the Olympics, but later clarified his case was not yet closed.

"There is no final decision as regards the measures and/or sanctions relating to (Sincraian's) Rio Olympic Games participation yet," the IWF said.

Decisions on Olympic disqualifications and medals are up to the International Olympic Committee.

Sincraian returned last year from a two-year doping ban for the banned steroid stanozolol. He could face an eight-year ban for a second offense, in line with usual IWF practice.

If the IOC decides to reallocate the medals, Sincraian's bronze would pass to fourth-placed Denis Ulanov of Kazakhstan, whose entire team was almost banned from the Olympics over repeated drug test failures.

Romanian Weightlifting Federation president Nicu Vlad said Sincraian had been under a provisional suspension since Sept. 30 over the failed test, and that it could be linked to supplements he had been taking.

"He was asked if he still had (the supplements), because it would be good for them to be analyzed, and he said he didn't," Vlad told Romanian news agency Agerpres.

The entire Bulgarian and Russian weightlifting teams were banned from competing in Rio due to repeated doping cases, while lifters from Poland, Taiwan, Cyprus and Mongolia failed tests either during or shortly before the games. Weightlifting has been rocked by dozens of failed drug tests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics which turned up when samples were retested by the IOC this year using modern technology.

More than 40 competitors have so far tested positive in those retests, including several gold medalists. In one event from 2012, the original ninth-place finisher is in line to receive a bronze medal because six athletes who finished above him have failed drug tests.

5 Russian race walkers banned

Five Russian race walkers have been suspended for four years after testing positive for EPO.

The sanctions were announced Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The five, including 2013 world championship silver medallist Mikhail Ryzhov, all tested positive for blood-boosting EPO in June 2015 at Russia's national training centre in Saransk.

Also suspended were former European championship medallist Ivan Noskov, Elmira Alembekova, Vera Sokolova and Ivan Noskov.

The sanctions were handled by CAS because the Russian track and field federation is currently suspended.

A World Anti-Doping Agency investigation last year found that athletes and coaches had tried to obstruct drug testers from collecting samples during the out-of-competition controls that caught the five. The Saransk centre was then under the control of coach Viktor Chegin, who was banned for life in March. More than 25 of his athletes have failed drug tests.

Norwegian cross-country skier tests positive

Three-time Olympic cross-country medalist Therese Johaug tested positive for a banned substance contained in a sun screen, the Norwegian ski federation said Thursday.

The federation said in a statement that Johaug tested positive for the steroid clostebol in Italy in August. It said the drug was contained in a sun lotion given to her by team doctor Fredrik Bendiksen.

Torbjorn Skogstad, the head of Norway's cross-country committee, called it "a serious situation" and said a meeting has been called to discuss "any immediate measures."

"I am totally devastated and distraught," Johaug said in a statement issued by the ski federation. "I find this unfair and totally undeserved."

Bendiksen took the blame, saying he gave her the cream Trofodermin to treat sun burns on her lips after altitude training with the Norwegian cross-country team in Italy in late August.

According to the federation, Johaug checked with Bendiksen to see whether it was OK to use and he said it didn't contain any banned substances.

"I have and take responsibility that Therese used the illegal drug clostebol via the balm Trofodermin," Bendiksen said in the joint statement.

Johaug had a urine test on Sept. 16, and the Norwegian anti-doping agency informed her of the finding on Oct. 4.

Norwegian ski federation president Erik Roste said it was "a terribly sad day."

"Now we are most focused on Therese and Frederik's well-being," Roste said.

Johaug, a seven-time world champion, won gold in the 4x5-kilometer relay at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She took silver and bronze medals at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

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