Disgraced Bahrain Olympian could compete in London
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP)
Disgraced 1,500-meter runner Rashid Ramzi will compete at next year's London Games ''if he gets good results'' and his eligibility is approved by the IOC, the secretary general of Bahrain's Olympic committee said Tuesday.
''If Ramzi meets both criteria, then why not?'' Sheik Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa told The Associated Press in an interview.
At the 2008 Beijing Games, the Moroccan-born Ramzi won Bahrain's first Olympic track and field gold medal. He was stripped of the medal and banned for two years after testing positive in retroactive tests for the banned blood-boosting drug CERA.
Sheik Ahmed said Bahrain will ask the International Olympic Committee if Ramzi is eligible for London. The Court of Arbitration for Sport threw out the IOC rule that bars any athlete with a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next games.
Ramzi was banned by track and field's governing body in January 2010, with the Bahrain association backdating his ban to May 2009. Since he finished serving his two-year ban in May this year, Ramzi has been training in Morocco. He failed to qualify for international competitions, including the world championships in Daegu, South Korea.
The top sports court this month struck down the IOC rule and cleared American sprinter LaShawn Merritt, the Olympic 400-meter champion in Beijing in 2008, to defend his title at the London Games. Merrit completed a doping ban in July.
The decision also affects dozens of other athletes around the world who had been covered by the suspension rule, adopted by the IOC in 2008 as part of its zero-tolerance approach on doping.
''We will inquire with the IOC to see if the ban reversal applies to other athletes and if Ramzi could compete,'' Sheik Ahmed said. ''We also hope he continues to train hard and if he gets good results the decision will be made on his participation in the Olympic team.''
''So far his results are not what we've been use to,'' Sheik Ahmed said, adding that Bahrain now has seven athletes in track and field who have qualified for the London Olympics.
Ramzi could not be reached for comment.
Ramzi tested negative at the Beijing Games, but the IOC reanalyzed the samples when a fully validated test for CERA became available. His gold medal went to Asbel Kipruto Kiprop of Kenya.