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Shot-put champion will lose gold

Korzhanenko poses with the gold medal she will have to give back
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- Women's Olympic shot put champion Irina Korzhanenko of Russia will lose her gold medal after testing positive for a banned steroid, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee's anti-doping body has announced.

"The International Olympic Committee has begun the process of withdrawing the medal," Nikolai Durmanov said.

"We are very disappointed," he added.

He said that despite a drive to clean up Russian sport its administrators, himself included, had failed and might now be "sacrificed" for change.

Korzhanenko, 30, won the first athletics gold of the Athens Games on Wednesday at Ancient Olympia and failed a test immediately after the competition there. Cuban silver medallist Yumileidi Cumba should now take gold.

A B sample also gave a positive reading on Sunday, Durmanov said, confirming that the drug was stanozolol, the anabolic steroid used by Canadian Ben Johnson when he won the 1988 Seoul 100 meters final in record time. He was stripped of the medal.

At an Olympics hit by drugs scandals around the host nation's top sprinters and in the weightlifting arena, the failure is an embarrassing end to a Olympic high point when the "homecoming Games" returned for a day to the spot in rural Arcadia where it all began nearly 3,000 years ago.

Heavy blow

Durmanov said the second Russian doping case of the Games -- medal favorite superheavyweight weightlifter Albina Khomich was kicked out on Saturday -- was a heavy blow after efforts to ensure drug cheats did not compete for Russia.

"We have concentrated very much on doping ... We must have 'zero tolerance'," he said. "But we haven't managed it."

Korzhanenko, the European champion, was awarded the 1999 world indoor gold medal when Ukrainian Vita Pavlysh was banned for doping but lost the title herself after a positive test.

In the Olympic shot put, bronze medallist Nadine Kleinert of Germany should now take silver and Russia's Svetlana Krivelyova, who finished fourth, would receive the bronze medal.

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