ATHENS, Greece – A Moroccan weightlifter who failed a drug test was sent home before she could compete at the Olympics on Wednesday, and the positive tests of at least five more weightlifters were expected to be announced within a day, The Associated Press learned.
The cases are the latest setback for a sport plagued by cheating athletes during the last two Summer Games.
Wafa Ammouri (search) flunked her test and didn't participate in the women's 139-pound (63kg) final, a source close to the International Weightlifting Federation said on cightlifting worldwide and is responsible for regulating the sport at the Olympics.
Embarrassed by four failed tests at the 2000 Sydney Games (search) -- three that cost Bulgarians medals -- the IWF tried to crack down on cheating earlier this year by banning three Bulgarians well before the games began.
Olympic champion Galabin Boevski (search) was banned for eight years and Bulgarian teammates Zlatan Vanev and Georgi Markov drew 18-month suspensions that barred them from competing in Athens.
The IWF said the three tampered with their doping tests nine months ago at the 2003 world championships in Vancouver by submitting urine samples that came from the same person.
All three were among the world's top weightlifters: Boevski was an Olympic champion and Markov and Vanev were world champions. IWF president Tamas Ajan said Boevski received a longer ban because it was his second failed test since 1995.
The failed tests in Sydney almost overshadowed the sport itself; athletes were stripped of medals almost as soon as they received them. Bulgaria's Izabela Dragneva's gold in the first women's event at the Olympics, at 1051/2 pounds, was given instead to the United States' Tara Nott.
Nott, now known as Tara Cunningham, and Dragneva returned to Athens but neither medaled on Saturday, the first day of competition. Dragneva was suspended for two years before being reinstated.
Two Romanians also tested positive just before the 2000 Games, and the day the Bulgarian drug scandal broke, two Qatar lifters who trained in Bulgaria were scratched from the event without explanation.
Bulgaria's entire team was temporarily banned but was reinstates by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Afterward, Alan Tsagaev went on to win a silver medal. Romania's team was also banned by the IWF following three failed drug tests within a year, but was allowed to stay in the 2000 Games by paying a $50,000 fine.