Ramzi stripped of Olympic 1,500-meter gold

RamziRamzi was one of five athletes from the 2008 Beijing Games who tested positive in April for CERA, an advanced version of the blood-boosting drug EPO, in new tests using retroactive blood samples.

On Tuesday, Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin was stripped of his silver medal in the Beijing road race for a positive CERA test.

The other athletes from Beijing who tested positive were German cyclist Stefan Schumacher, Croatian 800-meter runner Vanja Perisic, and Greek race walker Athanasia Tsoumeleka. They did not win medals.

An official announcement on all five athletes was expected later Wednesday from the International Olympic Committee.

Three officials with knowledge of the rulings said the 29-year-old Ramzi had been disqualified. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcements had not yet been made.

Two officials said Ramzi was expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Moroccan-born Ramzi was the only gold medalist from Beijing caught using performance-enhancing drugs. He gave Bahrain its first Olympic track and field gold medal with his victory in the 1,500.

He could also now face a two-year ban from the International Association of Athletics Federations. Under IOC rules, he also is banned from the 2012 London Olympics.

Sebastian Coe, who won two 1,500 Olympic titles and is an IAAF vice president, praised the stripping of Ramzi's medal.

"That was the right decision," Coe said. "Cheats cannot prosper in our sport and people will realize that sooner or later. ... Unfortunately, that was high profile and we can do without it, but it also shows the quality of our testing procedures now."

Asbel Kipruto Kiprop of Kenya stands to be upgraded from silver to gold in the 1,500. Nicolas Willis of New Zealand could go from bronze to silver, and fourth-place finisher Mehdi Baala of France would get the bronze.

The IOC previously disqualified nine athletes for doping at the Beijing Games. They included Ukrainian heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska, who was stripped of her silver medal, and North Korean shooter Kim Jong Su, whose silver and bronze medals were revoked.

A sixth athlete was initially found positive in the retesting process, but women's weightlifter Yudelquis Contreras was cleared by the Dominican Olympic Committee after the "B" sample came back negative

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