31 athletes face ban from Rio Olympics

Geneva, May 18 (IANS) Nearly 31 athletes from six sports could be banned from the Rio Olympics for doping following retests on their samples from the 2008 Beijing Games, said International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday.

The IOC Executive Board met in special session on Tuesday to step up the fight against drugs cheats, and additional measures will be announced to protect clean athletes, Xinhua quoted IOC as saying.

The IOC retested 454 selected doping samples from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. The retests follow work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Federations.

The tests were focused on athletes who could potentially start at the Rio Games and were conducted using the latest scientific analysis methods.

As a result, up to 31 athletes from six sports could be banned from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio, and the IOC Executive Board agreed unanimously to initiate proceedings immediately, with the 12 NOCs concerned informed in the coming days. All those athletes infringing anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the 2016 Olympics.

The fight to protect the clean athletes does not stop there, with 250 more results from retesting of samples from the Olympic Games London 2012 to come shortly. The aim is to stop any drugs cheats coming to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, said the IOC.

The IOC will also undertake a wider retesting program of medalists from Beijing and London. The samples of those athletes who could be awarded medals following the disqualification of others will also be retested.

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