Six top athletes fail dope tests

Six athletes, including former Olympic and three-time world hammer champion Ivan Tsikhan of Belarus were named by the sport’s governing body on Friday for failing doping tests after samples taken at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki were re-examined.

The other athletes named were Andrei Mikhnevich, Vadim Devyatovskiy and Nazdeya Ostapchuk from Belarus and Tatyana Kotova and Olga Kuzenkova of Russia.

All are now subject to the disciplinary procedures of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Tsikhan won the gold medal in Helsinki, while Devyatovskiy took silver. They finished in the same order at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, lost their medals after doping tests but won appeals against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Tsikhan did not compete at last year’s London Olympics following a request by the IAAF.  Shot-putter Mikhnevich, the 2003 world champion, won an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing in 2008.  Long jumper Kotova was a bronze medallist at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and won three successive silver medals in the World Championships, while Kuzenkova won hammer gold at the 2004 Olympics and the World Championships in Helsinki.

Ostapchuk was stripped of her London shot put gold medal last year after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid.

“The IAAF's message to cheaters is increasingly clear that, with constant advancements being made in doping detection, there is no place to hide,” IAAF President Lamine Diack said in a statement on Friday.

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