Olympic champion Silva loses Pan Am Games gold for doping

MAURICIO SAVARESE

SAO PAULO (AP) — Olympic judo champion Rafaela Silva of Brazil was stripped of her Pan American Games gold medal on Wednesday after failing a doping test.

Silva was the winner of the title of the 57-kilogram category in Lima, the same category in which she triumphed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. She can still appeal the decision.

Organizers of the Pan Am Games said in a statement that Silva and six other athletes had failed their doping tests during the competition in August.

"We have concluded the process for seven cases which resulted in the athletes being disqualified from the Games as well as their medals and performances forfeited and removed," organizers said. "The results management process has been lengthy as we have ensured that the athletes' rights have been fully respected, especially in relation to confidentiality."

The 27-year-old Silva announced last week that she tested positive for fenoterol, a drug used to treat asthma. The judoka blamed her frequent contact with a 7-month-old baby that suffers from asthma for the doping result.

The Brazilian is one of the favorites to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Dominican baseball players Audry Joel Perez and Osvaldo Manuel Abreu; Brazilian cyclist Kacio Fonseca da Silva; Peruvian handball player Brian Cesar Paredes Vergara; Puerto Rican bowler Jean Francisco Perez Faure; and Colombian basketball player Narlyn Tathiana Mosquera Cordoba also failed their tests.

Organizers said the doping positives of the Brazilian cyclist and of the Puerto Rican bowler also made their teams lose a bronze and a gold medal, respectively.

The statement of Pan Am Games organizers said hearings for five cases have been scheduled for Oct. 3 and 4, while the results of three cases are yet to be determined following analyses of B samples. The organizers have not clarified which is the case for the Brazilian Olympic champion Silva.

One of the doping cases at the Pan Am Games has already concluded, with the athlete that failed the test appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), organizers said.

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