Armenia ‘Out of Bounds’ for Australian Lifters

SYDNEY (Reuters)–Some of Australia’s top lifters will have to change their preparations for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester–England–following the decision by the International Weightlifting Federation to suspend Armenia for a year.

Many of Australia’s lifters were born and have been training in Armenia but have now been told the country is off-limits–The Age newspaper reported on Thursday.

"Armenia is out of bounds," Australian Weightlifting president Sam Coffa was quoted as saying. "Not only because of the country’s disqualification–but because it is perceived that there is a drug problem there."

Coffa said the Australian team management had yet to decide on an alternative training scheme.

Armenia’s one-year ban was handed down when four of their lifters tested positive for steroids in last month’s world championships. Two of the lifters–who were repeat offenders–were banned for life.

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