The Athens Olympics tonight suffered another blow when two women were banished from the Games for failing in-competition drugs tests.
And according to reports from the Greek news agency ANA, the host nation’s weightlifting medal hero Leonidas Sampanis was also set to be thrown out for returning a positive sample.
Weightlifting authorities have been trying to put a positive spin on the number of their competitors being found out in Athens, claiming they are sifting out the cheats.
But the news today came in the wake of five lifters being banned from the Games yesterday for positive tests and weightlifting’s reputation as an Olympic sport is badly tarnished.
The latest confirmed offender was Indian Thingbaijam Sanamacha Chanu, a 25-year-old who finished fourth in the women’s 53kg weightlifting final last Sunday.
According to the International Olympic Committee, she tested positive for a banned diuretic, Furosemide, after her final, and will have her result wiped from the record books.
The same fate will befall shot-putter Olga Shchukina from Uzbekistan.
The IOC decided that both were cut-and-dry cases of doping offences, but they were not commenting on the Sampanis report.
Shchukina, aged 27, competed in the shot putt at Ancient Olympia on Thursday, but finished last in her qualifying group.
Her failed test occurred on August 14, before her final but by IOC definition during competition, which officially begins when the Games Village opens.
Shchukina tested positive for Clenbuterol, a prohibited anabolic agent, which she promptly claimed had come from a cough syrup.
The IOC welcomed her apparent honesty, but under the laws of strict liability, she was eliminated and could now face action from the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Both have been ordered to return their Games accreditation, in keeping with IOC policy.
The reports of a positive test for Sampanis will jolt the Greek hosts, as well as Games officials and the International Weightlifting Federation.
The former world champion secured a bronze medal in the 62kg category on Monday, producing a positive sample when he was routinely tested after the event.
After the failure of Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou to present themselves for testing on the eve of the opening ceremony, the last thing which the hosts needed was for a new drugs controversy to emerge.
Both Kenteris and Thanou withdrew from the Games on Wednesday, but it seemed inevitable that the sprinters would have been expelled had they not chosen to withdraw.
Sampanis was a silver medallist at the last two Games.