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Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno tests positive for EPO
16:38, August 11, 2008

Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno became the first athlete to be tested positive during the official Olympic doping control period when her expulsion was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday.

Moreno, entered for women's individual time trial, was tested positive for the blood-boosting EPO or erythropoietin, IOC communications director Giselle Davies said.

"The case that has just come to light this morning can confirm the disciplinary commission's decision regarding Maria Isabel Moreno. Her test is positive for EPO," announced Davies.

The 27-year-old was tested on July 31 in the Athletes Village and left China in the evening on the same day before learning the result, Davies told the reporters at the daily IOC-BOCOG press conference.

And the cyclist's accreditation was revoked and she was expelled from the ongoing Games which opened on Friday. IOC asked the International Cycling Federation to carry out further sanctions.

"The disciplinary commission this morning has ruled that she will be excluded from the Games. Her accreditation has been cancelled and withdrawn," Davies said.

"We hope that Cycling Federation the UCI follows up with any other area of this case as it can which is outside of the IOC remits, outside of the Games time process," she said.

The Olympic period doping control started on July 27 when the Athletes Village opened and will run through to August 24. No less than 4,500 tests will be carried out during this period, a 25 percent of increase from 3,600 in Athens where 26 doping cases were reported.

All tests will be co-ordinated under the IOC, while World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will conduct pre-competition tests during the Olympic period on Olympic athletes not in Olympic venues and the Beijing Games organizers will conduct tests at the Olympic venues. This is to allow for anywhere, anytime testing for the duration of the Games.

In addition to extended tests, IOC introduced tougher measures in cracking down drug cheats.

"The IOC means business in stamping out for those who are not playing by the rules," said Davies.

For the first time at a Games, athletes must provide whereabouts information for where they are residing, training and competing from July 27 to August 24. And an athlete can be tested twice a day.

As of July 1 this year, anyone banned for a doping offence for more than six months may not participate in any capacity at the summer or winter Games immediately following the date of expiry of such suspension.

Moreno was not the first to be kicked out of the Games. Greek media revealed that their men's 200 meters runner Tassos Gousis lost his qualification for the Games after being tested positive for banned substance but his offence was found by the Greek anti-doping authorities instead of the IOC.

WADA director general David Howman, whose team acts as independent observer at the Games, said IOC's program led to more pre-Games tests in many countries.

"The program run by the IOC is an effective one. Many countries have learned it better to ensure their athletes who are cheating do not come to Beijing rather than have them caught in Beijing," he said. "That's a very good momentum we hope to continue to the future."

India withdrew weightlifter Monika Devi from the Games on Wednesday after seven top Russian female track and field athletes were accused of manipulating their urine samples. The IAAF provisionally suspended them on July 31.

Bulgarian weightlifting association confirmed on July 30 that eleven top weighlifters withdrew from the Games after positive tests.

Eleven members of the Greek national team tested positive in March for the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone and banned for two years before another one was caught in July. Swimmer Yiannis Drymonakos and rower Yiannis Tsamis also were forced out of the Olympic team for doping offences.


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