Drug tests trip up Brazilians

RIO DE JANEIRO - Five Brazilian athletes preparing for this month's world athletics championships in Berlin have been dropped from their country's squad after testing positive for the banned blood-booster EPO.

RIO DE JANEIRO - Five Brazilian athletes preparing for this month's world athletics championships in Berlin have been dropped from their country's squad after testing positive for the banned blood-booster EPO.

The quintet were caught by an out-of-competition control conducted on June 15 in Sao Paulo, the Brazil athletics federation announced yesterday. The five were named as two men - Bruno Tenorio (4x100m) and Jorge Celio Sena (200m), and three women - Lucimara Silvestre (heptathlon), Josiane Tito (4x400m) and Luciana Franca (400m hurdles).

The Brazilian federation confirmed: "Five athletes have tested positive for banned substances in an unscheduled control on June 15 at Presidente Prudente, Sao Paulo, according to results from the IAAF-accredited Montreal laboratory."

The federation's anti-doping agency said the substance concerned was EPO. This brings the number of Brazilian athletes to fail drug tests to six in the run-up to the August 15-23 world championships after last week's positive test involving 400m runner Lucimar Teodoro.

The high number of cases involving Brazil's 44-strong squad for Berlin is worrying the country's officials.

"This number of positive cases is really high, a record. I've never known a similar situation like it in Brazil," said Rafael Trinidade, the Brazil Olympic Committee's medical coordinator.

He added that it was "curious" that the five athletes concerned all trained at Presidente Prudente. - Sapa-AFP

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