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Gymnast Banned for Doping Offense

October 30, 2002 GMT

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MOUTIER, Switzerland (AP) _ A Ukrainian rhythmic gymnast who failed a doping test earlier this year has been barred from competition for two months by the International Gymnastics Federation.

Anna Bessonova tested positive for the stimulant norephedrine during an international rhythmic gymnastics tournament in France in March, the federation said Wednesday.

The ban was backdated to the start of September, allowing the gymnast to compete again in December.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is due to rule Nov. 13 on an appeal by two Russian rhythmic gymnasts given one-year bans for doping offenses imposed by the federation.

Alina Kabaeva and Irina Tchachina tested positive for furosemide _ a diuretic sometimes used by athletes to shed weight quickly or to mask other forbidden drugs.

Their suspension was retroactice to the positive test at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, in August 2001.

The pair also were ordered to return the medals they won at the rhythmic gymnastics world championships in Madrid, Spain, in October 2001. Kabaeva was overall world champion while Tchachina took the silver. Between them, the pair won gold and silver in every event.