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Ramzi stripped of Olympic 1500m gold

Ramzi (C) holds his Olympic gold medal in Beijing, alongside Asbel Kipruto Kiprop (L) and Nicolas Willis (R)
Ramzi (C) holds his Olympic gold medal in Beijing, alongside Asbel Kipruto Kiprop (L) and Nicolas Willis (R)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bahrain's Rashid Ramzi stripped of Olympic 1500m gold from Beijing
  • Ramzi tested positive for CERA an advanced version of blood-booster EPO
  • Four other athletes who tested positive for CERA also sanctioned
  • Moroccan-born Ramzi also faces two-year ban from track and field
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(CNN) -- Olympic 1500 meter champion Rashid Ramzi has been stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for doping at the 2008 Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced.

The Bahraini runner, his country's first Olympic champion, also faces a two-year ban from track and field.

Moroccan-born Ramzi tested positive for CERA, an advanced version of the endurance-boosting hormone, EPO.

The 29-year-old's disqualification means that Kenya's Asbel Kipruto Kiprop will be awarded gold, New Zealand's Nicolas Willis has been upgraded to silver and fourth-placed Frenchman Mehdi Baala will get bronze.

Ramzi was one of five athletes who were caught out by a new test for CERA and all have been punished.

The other medallist to test positive was Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin, who won silver in the individual road race.

Also being sanctioned are German cyclist Stefan Schumacher, Greek 20km walker Athanasia Tsoumeleka and Croatian runner Vanja Perisic.

Under IOC rules all five will be barred from the 2012 London Olympics.

The IOC statement read: "The samples were collected and tested at Games-time and were subject to further analysis earlier this year when a fully validated test to detect CERA became available.

"Originally, six athletes showed adverse analytical findings in their A samples. However, one athlete was not sanctioned due to the presence of CERA not being detected in her B sample."

Ramzi is the highest profile star to fall foul of the new test and agency reports said he would appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration in Sport.

In 2005 he did the 800 and 1500m double at the 2005 world athletics championships, becoming the first man to do so at a global event since New Zealand legend Peter Snell in 1964.

Ramzi originally competed for Morocco, but switched to cash-rich Bahrain in 2002 after joining their armed forces.