LONDON – Uzbek gymnast Luiza Galiulina has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for the banned diuretic furosemide, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Sunday.
Galiulina underwent a drugs test on July 25, four days before the start of the women’s artistic gymnastics competition.
The IOC said that Galiulina claimed she “did not know” how the substance had entered her body, but said that she had received treatment from her mother during a period of sickness at the end of June.
She also said that she was taking medication for a heart condition.
“Once the results of the B sample have been received, a definitive decision will be announced by the disciplinary commission,” said the IOC.
The analysis of the B sample was due to be carried out on Sunday afternoon.
Like some other diuretics, furosemide is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned drugs list as it can be used as a masking agent to disguise the use of other drugs.
It is also often used by athletes seeking to lose weight.
Furosemide is deemed “a specified substance” on the WADA list, which means that if a person can prove that it was taken by accident, the usual two-year ban for doping offences can be downgraded to a warning.
Galiulina, 20, had been due to participate in the fourth women’s qualifying session at London’s North Greenwich Arena later Sunday.
Along with her coach, Andrei Nilov, Galiulina attended an IOC disciplinary hearing at a London hotel on Saturday evening.
It is the second case of doping at the Olympics, after Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku tested positive for a banned steroid.
More than a dozen other athletes have already been expelled for pre-competition doping offences, but Pulaku, 19, was the first to fail a test since arriving for the Games.
Among the pre-Games doping casualties were Morocco’s Mariem Alaoui Selsouli, one of the favourites for the women’s athletics 1500m gold medal, who failed a test for a banned diuretic.
World anti-doping chiefs have unveiled a new test for human growth hormone, with a detection window of weeks rather than hours, which they hope will snare drug cheats at the Games.
A total of 15 athletes were caught doping at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the most at a Summer Games since the IOC began testing at the 1968 edition in Mexico City.