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Retroactive dope test catches Russian steeplechase champion

Russian steeplechase athlete Yuliya Zaripova celebrates her gold medal on the podium after the women’s 3000m steeplechase at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 7, 2012 © AFP/File / Johannes Eisele

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Nov 21Steeplechase champion Yuliya Zaripova of Russia was one of 12 athletes disqualified on Monday after failing retroactive dope tests taken at the 2012 London Games.

There were seven medallists on the latest list of dope cheats released by the International Olympic Committee, but the Russian 3000m women’s steeplechase winner was the only champion on the list.

Two silver medallists on the list were also Russian, the weightlifters Alexandr Ivanov (+94 kg) and Nataliya Zabolotnaya (+75).

The other disqualified medallists were four weightlifters, including Moldova’s Cristina Iovu (+53 kg), Armenia’s Hripsime Khurshudyan (+75 kg), Iryna Kulesha of Belarus (+75 kg) and Anatoli Ciricu (+94 kg).

The five others sanctioned were from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine who competed in weightlifting and track and field.

The IOC initiated the re-testing programme last year using improved techniques, focusing on medal winners from London 2012 and Beijing 2008.

The Olympics governing body is pursuing a range of measures aimed at cleaning up drug use in sport after the Russian doping scandal plunged the IOC into one of its worst crisis in decades.

Russia was accused by a World Anti-Doping Agency report of running a “state sponsored” doping programme and had more than 110 of its competitors banned from this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The IOC has so far retested 1,243 samples from London and Beijing, aiming to detect performance enhancing drugs that were not identifiable four and eight years ago.

So far, the programme has turned up 82 positive tests.