ZURICH (Reuters) - Bulgaria's weightlifters will be barred from the Rio Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday rejected an appeal against a ban for numerous anti-doping violations.
In November the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF)sanctioned the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation (BWF) and fined it $500,000 after 11 lifters tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol.
While the ban remains in place, the fine is set aside, Swiss-based CAS said in a statement on Friday.
In March, eight male and three female athletes tested positive at a training camp in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Asen Muradov, Ferdi Nazif, Vladimir Urumov, Stoyan Enev, Deyan Minchev as well as female athletes Nadezhda-Mey Tuy Nguen, and Maya Ivanova were suspended for nine months.
Former European champion Demir Demirev, 2014 European champions Ivan Markov and Ivaylo Filev and female weightlifter Milka Maneva were banned for 18 months as they were already suspended for doping.
Bulgarian weightlifting has suffered repeated embarrassment due to doping cases and the national organization was temporarily stripped of its license in 2009.
A year earlier the country withdrew its team for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of 11 failed doping checks.
Bulgaria's reputation was also tarnished at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney where the team were stripped of three gold medals and sent home in shame following positive drug tests.
(Fixes typo in headline)
(Reporting by Martyn Herman in London; editing by Ken Ferris)