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Ukrainian silver medalist Blonska fails drug test, Russia gets into gear
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21:28, August 20, 2008

Doping scandals cast a shadow over the Beijing Olympics again on Wednesday as Ukaine's heptathlon silver medalist Liudmyla Blonska tested positive for banned substances.

Liudmyla Blonska(C) of Ukraine celebrates after women's heptathlon 800m at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 16, 2008. Blonska has tested positive for banned substances at the Beijing Games.(Xinhua)

"The IOC is looking into this matter and the IOC disciplinary commission will hold a meeting tomorrow (on Thursday)," IOC spokeswoman Sandrine Tonge told Xinhua.

Tonge added that any decision regarding possible penalty on Blonska should be taken by the IOC executive board.

It was unclear at the moment for which substance she tested positive.

Blonska finished second in the women's heptathlon behind compatriot Natalya Dobrynska on Saturday. But the 29-year-old Ukrainian, who served a doping suspension between 2003-2005, could be stripped of her medal and banned for life if the IOC rules she has committed a second offence.

Four athletes have been expelled from the Aug. 8-24 Games so far over doping offense.

On the sports field, the Russian legion finally got into gear, although it seemed a little late.

One gold apiece in marathon swimming, synchronized swimming and wrestling propelled the perennial sporting power past Germany and Australia into fourth place in the medal table. China led with 43 gold, followed by the United States (26) and Britain (16).

Larisa Ilchenko set the pace for the Russians with a hard-earned victory in the women's 10km open water swim. The 20-year-old Ilchenko staged a powerful sprint in the last 100 meters, edging Britain's Keri-Anna Payne by merely 1.5 seconds.

Gold medalist Larisa Ilchenko of Russia (C), the runner-up Keri-Anne Payne (L) and bronze winner Cassandra Patten, both of Great Britain, pose on the podium during victory ceremony of women's marathon 10km competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games swimming event in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. (Xinhua)

South African Natalie du Toit, whose left leg was amputated at the knee after a motorcycle accident, became the first female Paralympian to compete in the Olympics. She finished 16th in the field of 24, 1:22 behind Ilchenko.

"I don't even think about not having a leg and if I want to keep competing I will have to continue to qualify with the able-bodied," du Toit told reporters. "For me it's not about disability at all. Hopefully I'll be back for 2012.''

Ilchenko also showed due respect for her South African rival.

"I would even go as far as offering her a separate medal," she said. "I wish her all success for the future and hopefully she will win one day."

Along with BMX biking, the 10km open water swim was making its debut at the Olympic Games.

Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova extended Russia's dominance in synchronized swimming when the duo won the duet competition.

They received all perfect 10 points for technical merit and earned a total of 99.251 points. The silver went to Spain's Andrea Fuentes and Gemma Mengual on 98.334 points. Japanese pair Sara Harada and Emiko Suzuki earned bronze ahead of China's Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen.

Russia swept the two gold medals in synchronized swimming at the past two Olympics.

Buvaysa Saytiev of Russia won his third Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medal when he defeated Soslan Tigiev of Uzbekistan in the 74kg final. Saytiev had won Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004.

Yin Jian of China improved on her silver gold medal finish in Athens four years ago to strike gold in the women's RS:X sailing event in Qingdao, while New Zealand's Tom Ashley won the men's RS:X event.

The 29-year-old Yin finished with 39 points from the 11 races, edging Italy's Alessandra Sensini by one point.

"I didn't think about anything during today's race. I knew that, if I kept passing one after another, victory would be mine," said Yin.

In men's beach volleyball, Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers set up a final showdown against Brazilians Fabio Magalhaes and Marcio Araujo.

Dalhausser and Rogers outclassed Jorge Terceiro and Renato Gomes of Georgia 21-11, 21-13, while Magalhaes and Araujo upset Brazilian teammates and defending gold medalists Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego 22-20, 21-18.

There are five other medal events scheduled for Wednesday in track and field and taekwondo.

At the Bird's Nest stadium, Usain Bolt of Jamaica will attempt to add the 200m gold to his 100m title.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 45 14 20 79
2 USA 26 26 27 79
3 Great Britain 16 10 10 36
4 Russia 11 14 18 43
5 Australia 11 12 12 35
6 Germany 11 8 9 28
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