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Olympians From Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan Sanctioned For Doping

Belarus' Nadzeya Ostapchuk was stripped of a bronze medal after failing a drug retest.

Eight athletes have been disqualified from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London after drug retests, including two Belarusians and six athletes from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and China.

The International Olympic Committee said on January 12 that Belarusian shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who was a bronze medalist in Beijing, tested positive for the steroid turinabol in a reanalysis of her drug tests.

Ostapchuk loses her medal after having been promoted to the bronze-medal position when compatriot Natallia Mikhnevich failed an earlier dope test.

Belarusian hammer thrower Darya Pchelnik also lost her fourth spot from the 2008 Games after drug retests, the committee said.

Three other nonmedal weightlifters from the 2012 Olympics in London -- Sibel Simsek of Turkey, Intigam Zairov of Azerbaijan, and Armenia's Norayr Vardanyan -- were also disqualified after retests by the committee.

In the committee's most dramatic action, three Chinese women's weightlifting gold medallists at the Beijing Games were stripped of their medals because they failed drug retests.

The sanctions mean China faces a ban from international competition for a year, under a sanction regime approved by the sport's governing body last year to crack down on doping that is rife in weightlifting.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa