Weightlifting: Fifth Australian suspended for doping

SYDNEY - Dual Australian Commonwealth Games weightlifting gold medallist Aleksan Karapetyan has been suspended for two years for using a banned substance.

Armenian-born Karapetyan, nicknamed the "Big Gorilla", tested positive to the stimulant benzylpiperazine (BZP) in a competition in the United States in June, 2005.

However, Karapetyan, 36, will be able to keep the gold medal he won in the 94kg competition at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games because he tested clean at that event.

He is the fifth Australian weightlifter suspended for testing positive to BZP.

Fellow Armenian-born 'lifter Sergo Chakhoyan was banned for life last month following a positive test to BZP. It was his second doping breach.

Female weightlifters Corran Hocking, Jenna Myers and Camilla Fogagnolo have already been suspended for using BZP.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is yet to complete investigations into three other Australian weightlifters for possible breaches of the anti-doping code.

Like Chakhoyan, Karapetyan competed for Armenia in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta before emigrating to Australia, which he represented in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the past two Commonwealth Games.

Both men are understood to have returned to Armenia. They have been ordered to repay funding they received from the Australian Sports Commission.

- AAP

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