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Record-setting lifter tests positive

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Posted: Tuesday September 25, 2001 11:49 PM

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- Weightlifter Sergo Chakhoyan, who set a world record at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane last month, has tested positive to steroids, the Courier-Mail newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Armenian-born Australian lifted a record 181.5 kilograms in the snatch in the 85-kilogram division before returning to win golds in the clean-and-jerk and for his combined total.

With $25,000 bonus for the world record and the $2,000 he picked up for winning each medals, his total Goodwill Games earnings were $31,000.

The Australian Weightlifting Federation confirmed Chakhoyan had been banned for two years after testing positive in Brisbane to the banned performance enhancing drug stanozolol, the newspaper said.

Robert Kabbas, executive director of the Australian federation, said the organization had been informed at the weekend that Chakhoyan's A sample had tested positive and the lifter could pay to have his B sample tested. Kabbas said the national federation accepted the A result and would not have the B sample tested.

Chakhoyan, 32, migrated from Armenia in 1997 and competed for Australia for the first time at the 1999 world championships.

He was reportedly in his homeland training for the world championships to be held in Turkey in November when the positive test was revealed. The Goodwill Games prize money had not been paid.

Stanozolol was the same drug Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was caught using at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Weightlifting was plagued by doping controversies at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, prompting IOC officials to question its status as an Olympic sport.

Bulgarian Izabela Dragneva won the first women's weightlifting gold at an Olympics but had the medal taken away after her urine sample showed traces of furosemide, a banned diuretic.

Two men's Bulgarian weightlifters lost silver and bronze medals after testing positive for furosemide, and an Armenian weightlifter was stripped of a bronze for nandrolone.

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