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Russian Former Olympic Champion Banned for Doping
    2008-12-11 13:39:37     Xinhua
Former Olympic shooting champion Sergei Alifirenko was banned for two years for failing drug test, the Russian shooting union (SSR) said on Wednesday.

SSR director Alexander Mitrofanov said Alifirenko was punished for taking the banned substance dexamethasone as part of his treatment for an eye disease.

Mitrofanov said Alifirenko would be offered a coaching post even before his ban expires in April, 2010.

Alifirenko won gold in the men's 25-meter rapid fire pistol at the 2000 Sydney Games and a bronze in the same event four years later in Athens.

The 49-year-old was withdrawn from the Russian team and was sent home from Beijing on the eve of the Olympic competition, while his coach explained the sudden pull out by poor form.

Alifirenko blamed the team doctor, saying the doctor's medication in treating his eye disease had not been disclosed.

Alifirenko's ban is the latest in a series of doping offences by Russian athletes in recent months.

Seven leading female athletes, including twice world 1,500 meters champion Tatyana Tomashova and world indoor 1,500 meters champion and record holder Yelena Soboleva, received two-year bans in October for manipulating their drug samples.
 
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