RIO DE JANEIRO – A Chinese swimmer, a Bulgarian steeplechaser, and now a Polish weightlifter have been suspended or excluded from the Rio Olympics after failing doping tests, as further doping scandals continued to overshadow the sports competitions.
Steeplechaser Silvia Danekova and weightlifter Tomasz Zielinksi are excluded from the Games altogether, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Friday, after reviewing the cases on-site. Both have been stripped of their Olympic accreditation and face two year suspensions.
The 18-year old Chen Xinyi, who earlier in the week finished fourth in the women’s 100 metres butterfly, accepted a provisional suspension after being told her ‘A’ sample had returned a positive result for the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide.
“The athlete accepted a provisional suspension on a voluntary basis,” CAS said of Chen. “As a consequence, the athlete is provisionally suspended from competing at the Olympic Games. The procedure will continue and the CAS will issue a final award before the end of the Games.”
The three cases are the first for CAS, to whom the International Olympic Committee (IOC) relinquished control of doping cases at the Games following the recent spate of doping scandals to make the process more independent.
Hydrochlorothiazide, known as a masking agent, is a diuretic substance which can be used for weight loss and cover up the presence of other prohibited drugs by diluting the concentration of urine in doping tests.
But as the drug is classified as a “specified substance”, meaning there is a possibility the drug may have been ingested inadvertently, Chen may be handed reduced sanctions than Danekova or Zielinksi.
Chen has asked for an analysis of her ‘B’ sample. A CSA spokesperson was unavailable for comment on Friday morning, and further details of the alleged positive test were not immediately known.
Danekova, tested positive for the red blood cell production-boosting erythropoiesis-stimulating agent EPO. The adverse analytical finding came from a July 30 urine sample she provided immediately on arrival at the athletes’ village.
The Bulgarian was due to compete in the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase on Saturday, but following the announcement of her failed test, announced her retirement from international athletics as she came under heavy criticism from the country’s sports ministry.
Danekova was not considered a genuine medal contender.
Zielinski, who was scheduled to compete in the men’s 94-kilogram division, failed a doping test for the banned substance 19-Norandrosterone, a steroid. He has already been sent home by his federation.