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Belarusia hammer medals at Beijing Games stripped
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International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped two Belarusian hammer throwers of their Beijing Olympic silver and bronze medals for doping on Thursday.

Polish canoeist Adam Seroczynski was also disqualified for drug use, who tested positive for the steroid clenbuterol in Beijing after finishing fourth in the flatwater K2 event on Aug. 22. His teammate, Mariusz Kujawski, was not implicated, but their team result was voided.

The IOC executive board ruled against Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan, who tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone after finishing 2-3 in the Aug. 17 hammer final at the Bird's Nest stadium.

The silver now goes to Krisztian Pars of Hungary and the bronze to Koji Murofushi of Japan. Slovenia's Primoz Kozmus won the gold medal.

The IOC also imposed a lifetime Olympic ban on the 31-year-old Devyatovskiy because this was his second doping offense. He served a two-year drug suspension from 2000-02.

Under IAAF rules, Devyatovskiy faces a lifetime ban from the sport for two doping violations.

It was the first violation for the 32-year-old Tsikhan, a three-time world champion and silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Tsikhan, however, faces a likely two-year ban from the IAAF. Under new IOC rules, any athlete suspended for six months or more for doping is banned from the next Olympics.

The Belarusians had denied drug use and appeared at a hearing before the IOC's disciplinary commission in Lausanne in September.

In Minsk, Tsikhan and Belarusian Sports Minister Alexander Grigorov said they planned to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The three cases bring to nine the number of athletes caught for doping in Beijing. In addition, there were six doping cases involving horses in the equestrian competition.

The IOC disqualified six athletes during the Aug. 8-24 Olympics_ Ukrainian heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska, Ukrainian weightlifter Igor Razoronov, Greek hurdler Fani Halkia, North Korean shooter Kim Jong Su, Spanish cyclist Isabel Moreno and Vietnamese gymnast Thi Ngan Thuong Do.

Blonska was stripped of her silver medal, while Kim had his silver and bronze medals revoked.

The IOC, meanwhile, has decided to retest 500 Beijing doping samples to look for previously undetectable drugs.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2008)

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