Up to 31 athletes from six sports could be banned from Rio Olympics as Beijing doping samples retested

The athletes, from 12 different countries, may be stopped from travelling to the Rio Olympic Games, with further retests of London 2012 samples to come

Photo: Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz (CC2.0)

In a fight to ensure a clean Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee have announced that as many as 31 athletes could be banned from attending Rio 2016 after their doping samples from Beijing 2008 were retested.

Over 450 samples from the Beijing Games were selected for retesting using the latest scientific analysis - using tests that were not available to anti-doping officials in 2008.

As a result, the IOC announced that up to 31 athletes from six sports could be banned from competing in Rio after retrospectively testing positive. The IOC press release noted that these 31 athletes are from 12 different countries around the world but could not give more details on individual cases.

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IOC president Thomas Bach said: “All these measures are a powerful strike against the cheats we do not allow to win. They show once again that dopers have no place to hide.

"The re-tests from Beijing and London and the measures we are taking following the worrying allegations against the Laboratory in Sochi are another major step to protect the clean athletes irrespective of any sport or any nation. We keep samples for ten years so that the cheats know that they can never rest.

“By stopping so many doped athletes from participating in Rio we are showing once more our determination to protect the integrity of the Olympic competitions, including the Rio anti-doping laboratory, so that the Olympic magic can unfold in Rio de Janeiro.”

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Over 250 more results from samples taken at London 2012 are set to be revealed in coming weeks as the IOC aims to stop cheats from competing in Rio.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.