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Wednesday May 23, 2012

Bulgarian sprinter Eftimova banned for two years

SOFIA, (Reuters): Bulgarian sprinter Inna Eftimova, who was preparing for the London Olympics, has been banned for two years for doping, the Bulgarian athletics federation said on Tuesday.

Eftimova, who will turn 24 next month, had tested positive for the human growth hormone somatropin at the world championships in South Korea last year, they said.

"We kept the information confidential for a while but now we can officially announce her case," federation president Dobri Karamarinov told reporters.

"This morning, Inna agreed to and signed the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) proposal for a two-year sentence."

Eftimova's suspension is a blow for Bulgaria who were hoping to form a strong relay team around Ivet Lalova - the only European in the 100m final at the worlds - for the London Olympics in July and August.

Eftimova, who competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, was expected to run in three events in London - the 100m, 200m and 4x100 relay. Bulgarian athletics has been marred by a series of doping offences in recent years.

Sprinter Tezdzhan Naimova, middle-distance runners Daniela Yordanova, Vanya Stambolova and Teodora Kolarova, high jumper Venelina Veneva and hammer thrower Andrian Andreev have all tested positive for banned substances in the last four years.

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