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IOC Strips Belarusian Hammer Throwers Of Medals

Belarusian silver medalist Vadim Devyatovskiy (left) and bronze medalist Ivan Tsikhan in Beijing
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) -- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stripped the Beijing medals from two Belarusian hammer throwers after they tested positive for testosterone during the Games in August.

The IOC said Poland's Adam Seroczynski, fourth in the men's kayak double 1000-meters event in Beijing, was also disqualified for testing positive for anabolic agent clenbuterol.

His teammate Mariusz Kujawski was also disqualified despite not testing positive.

Belarusian Vadim Devyatovskiy, who had won silver in the hammer at the Beijing Games with a best throw of 81.61, was also handed a lifetime Olympic ban in any capacity as a second-time drug offender.

"The decision shall enter into force immediately," IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau told reporters after the decision taken by the IOC Executive Board.

His compatriot, world champion Ivan Tsikhan, who had captured bronze with a throw of 81.51, was disqualified and could now face a two-year ban from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a first-time offender.

Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia won the gold medal, Krisztian Pars from Hungary was fourth, and Japan's Koji Murofushi fifth. The latter two will be upgraded to silver and bronze respectively.

Moreau said the Olympic Committee of Belarus must now return the medals and diplomas to the IOC, which will then send them on to the upgraded athletes in Hungary and Japan.

The IAAF said several months ago it would ban the athletes once the IOC decision had been made.

Any athlete banned for six months or more cannot take part in the next Olympic Games, according to a new rule introduced earlier this year to scare off drug cheats before the Beijing Games.