Four powerlifters were Saturday expelled from the Sydney Paralympics after testing positive to performance-enhancing drugs.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) identified the four as Romanian Aurel Berbec, Bulgarian Radko Radev, Marina Diakonova of Russia and Ali Mahmoudikordkheili of Iran.
The IPC said the four would be expelled from the Games and would not be allowed to compete in any competition for the next four years, including the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
All lifters were detected in the first out-of-competition testing ever conducted at a Paralympics.
Berbec was found to have traces of an anabolic steroid stanozolol; Diakonova had a diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide; Mahmoudikordkheili, an anabolic steroid, methandienone, and Radev, chlorthalidone, a diuretic.
IPC president Robert Steadward said the individual National Paralympic Committees must take responsibility.
"I'm disappointed that we still have athletes who feel they need to take drugs to compete. They took an oath the other night," he said.
"Our member nations must take responsibility. They have to educate coaches, government and the athletes."
About 300 drug tests were conducted at the last Paralympics in Atlanta four years ago but none came back positive. In Barcelona, five drug cheats were caught, with three found to have used steroids.
About 600 random drug tests will be conducted during the Sydney Paralympics, which feature around 4,000 athletes from 121 countries competing in 18 sports -- SYDNEY (AFP)
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