French runner Hassan Hirt fails EPO test

International Olympic Committee (IOC) press spokesman Mark Adams during a news conference in the Olympic Park at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012. (REUTERS/Luke MacGregor)

LONDON: French runner Hassan Hirt has been sent home from the London Olympics by his team, with an official saying he tested positive for the blood-boosting hormone EPO.

A person with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press on Friday that Hirt tested positive in a sample taken during training in France on Aug. 3.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing case. He said Hirt had been targeted by the French anti-doping agency for several months.

Hirt was eliminated from the men's 5,000 meters Wednesday when he finished 11th in a first-round heat. The 32-year-old Hirt was competing in his first Olympics.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams announced earlier Friday that Hirt had been sent home by the French team but could not give details of any doping offense.

Hirt is the second French runner to test positive for EPO in the buildup to the games after 3,000-meter specialist Nordine Gezzar also failed a drug test in June.

The 32-year-old Gezzar served a two-year suspension for doping in 2006. He faces a life ban for a second offense.





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