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Romanians Sent Out of the Games

September 17, 2000|Associated Press

The Romanian weightlifting team was thrown out of the Sydney Olympics after two of its lifters failed drug tests before the Games.

Francois Carrard, director general of the International Olympic Committee, said today that the expulsion of the Romanian lifting team was ordered by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Under federation rules, any nation is suspended from competition for the rest of that year if three or more of its weightlifters test positive for banned drugs. A third Romanian weightlifter tested positive earlier this year.

Romanian weightlifters Traian Ciharean, a 1992 Olympic bronze medalist, and Andrei Mateias were expelled Friday after failing dope tests. Razvan Ilie, a 1999 world champion, tested positive in May. All 257 Olympic weightlifters were tested by the federation.

"The federation has a rule that if three test positive, the entire team is suspended," Carrard said.

Carrard also said pre-Games tests by the World Anti-Doping Agency had recorded 20 suspected positives. Of those, nine had been identified as "problematic," including two cases involving athletes in the Olympic village, he said.

Carrard did not identify the athletes or federations involved but said the cases were separate from the Romanian weightlifters. He said it was up to the federations to sanction the athletes according to their own rules.

At least four other weightlifters have been tossed out of the Olympics for failing pre-Games drug tests: Stian Grimseth of Norway, and Chen Po-Pu, world champion Chen Jui-lien and Wu Mei-Yi of Taiwan. Also sent home was Taiwan Coach Tsai Wen-Yee.

Halil Mutlu of Turkey, undefeated and virtually unchallenged since 1995, repeated as an Olympic weightlifting champion, breaking his world records in the snatch, clean and jerk, and total lift to beat the rest of the field by 27 1/2 pounds, or nearly one-quarter of his 123-pound weight.

Mutlu set records of 369 pounds in the clean and jerk, 303 in the snatch, and 672 in total lift. Bulgaria's Ivan Ivanov took the silver and China's Wu Wenxiong the bronze.

Tara Nott won a surprise silver medal for the United States as women's weightlifting made its Olympic debut.

Nott, never higher than ninth in the world championships, placed second to gold medalist Izabela Dragneva of Bulgaria at 106 pounds. Raema Lisa Rumbewas of Indonesia took the bronze.

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