50km walker Schwazer out of Rio

Italian 50km walker Alex Schwazer was ruled out of the Olympics Wednesday after losing an appeal over an eight-year doping ban, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said. The 2008 gold medallist had a sample, which had returned a negative result in January, re-tested in May which showed traces of anabolic steroids. He was banned for eight years by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). The retest came after his 50km race walk victory in the world team championships in May, a victory which qualified him for Rio. Schwazer had already failed a doping test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) positive for the blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) while he was training for the London Olympics in 2012. The Italian anti-doping court banned him for three years and nine months for that offence. "CAS confirmed the suspension of eight years starting from today (Wednesday)," said CAS.–AFP

Questions as drug offender claims weightlifting gold

Kazakhstan, who lost five Olympic titles from 2008 and 2012 through retrospective doping positives, won their first gold of the 2016 Games when Nijat Rahimov broke the clean and jerk world record in the men's 77kg category. Rahimov, who served a two-year doping ban after testing positive at the 2013 Universiade, when he competed for his native Azerbaijan, was 12kg behind when the favourite Lu Xiaojun of China finished his lifts. Rahimov had to lift 214kg to win, 4kg more than Lu's clean and jerk world record, which he set three years ago. When Rahimov made the lift the Kazakhstan national coach, Aleksey Ni, ran on to the platform to hoist his hero off the ground. Ni then fell on to his back and kicked at the air. During Ni's reign as head coach Kazakhstan has amassed the worst doping record in world weightlifting, with 32 positives since the 2008 Olympics. On the basis of that record Rahimov was asked, "What would you say to Olympic fans who doubt the validity of your medal?" His reply was, "I am not aware of the problem so that is what I would tell them."–Reuters

German coach wants seven nations banned

Germany's weightlifting coach has called for seven countries currently competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games to be banned from international competition -- and named an eighth -- for doping abuse. "Besides Russia and Bulgaria (who are already banned from weightlifting at the Rio Games), many other countries also have systematic doping," Germany's coach Oliver Caruso told daily newspaper Bild. "Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine should also be banned. These countries are robbing us of starting places (for other athletes), perhaps even medals." In an explosive interview, given to Bild in the Olympic village in Rio, Caruso also pointed the finger at Azerbaijan, who have no weightlifters competing in Rio after being stripped of two spots by the sport's governing body last month. –AFP