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Russian weightlifter stripped of Athens bronze

By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE (Reuters) - Russian weightlifter Oleg Perepetchenov was stripped of his 2004 Olympic bronze medal on Tuesday after a retest of his sample from the Athens Games returned positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.

The International Olympic Committee demanded the return of his medal "as soon as possible" from the Russian Olympic Committee, spokesman Mark Adams told reporters.

Perepetchenov, third in the 77kg category, is the fifth Athens Games medalist to be stripped of a medal following sample retests.

"I was tested so many times prior to and after the 2004 Games and they found nothing," he told Russian media in December when his case was still being discussed.

"Now they are telling me they found some funny substance which is useless for a weightlifter. Where is fair play here?", said Perepetchenov, 37, who retired in 2010.

Ukraine's shot put champion Yuriy Bilonog, women's shot putter Svetlana Krivelyova of Russia and discus thrower Irina Yatchenko of Belarus, who both won bronze medals, and Belarussian hammer thrower Ivan Tsikhan, who won silver, were demoted in December.

Triple world champion Tsikhan had also lost his bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Games but that decision was overturned at the Court of Arbitration for Sport because of a procedural error at a laboratory.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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