MADRID (AP) - Spanish hurdler Josephine Onyia is one of the athletes who tested positive in a reanalysis of doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Games, an official with knowledge of the case said Wednesday.
The Spanish Olympic Committee said it was informed by the International Olympic Committee “about an alleged adverse result for a Spanish athlete who participated in the 2008 Games,” but could not confirm that it was Onyia who failed the test. Citing privacy reasons, it said it couldn’t even confirm the sport of the person caught on the reanalysis of the samples.
The official who confirmed Onyia’s name spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.
Spanish media also reported that it was Nigerian-born Onyia who tested positive in Beijing.
The 29-year-old athlete, who became a Spanish citizen in 2007, had been banned for life earlier this year because of repeated doping offenses. She did not travel to Beijing for the world championships last year amid reports that she had failed a test.
Onyia competed in the 100 meter hurdles in the 2008 Games in Beijing, missing the final after finishing fifth in the semifinals.
Just before the 2008 Games, Spanish cyclist Maribel Moreno also tested positive for doping. Spain won 18 medals in Beijing, including five gold.
“The Spanish Olympic Committee expresses its full support for the latest actions taken by the International Olympic Committee in favor of a clean sport,” the Spanish committee said in its statement on Wednesday. “The review of a significant number of samples from the Olympic Games in Beijing and London is the correct decision by president Thomas Bach to make sure that cheaters won’t be at peace.”
The IOC said last week that 31 athletes could be barred from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after their 2008 samples came back positive in retests with enhanced techniques.
The Russian Olympic Committee said Tuesday that it was notified that 14 Russian athletes were caught in the retests. Russian state TV said 10 of the athletes were medalists, including 2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova.
The IOC is also awaiting results of retests of 250 samples from the 2012 London Games.
It said the 31 athletes from Beijing came from six sports and 12 countries, but declined to give names, citing legal reasons. Formal positive cases are not declared until the “B” samples are also tested and confirm the original findings.
The IOC said the retests targeted athletes who competed in Beijing or London and were hoping to participate in Rio in August.
The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years to reanalyze them when newer methods become available.
AP Sports Writer Steve Wilson in London contributed to this report.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tazzoni. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/tales-azzoni
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