alt THE International Olympic Committee (IOC) today stripped Belarusian hammer throwers Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan (pictured left and right) of their Olympic medals and disqualified one Polish kayaker from the Beijing Games because of doping violations.


Devyatovskiy and Tsikhan lost their silver and bronze medals after both failed tests for testosterone not produced by their own bodies.


Devyatovskiy also faces a lifetime ban from sport because it was his second doping offence.


It is the first violation for Tsikhan, a three-time world champion and silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics.


The Belarusians had denied drug use and appeared at a hearing before the IOC's disciplinary commission in Lausanne in September.


Krisztian Pars of Hungary will receive the silver and Koji Murofushi of Japan will be awarded the bronze.


Murofushi is benefiting for a second time from a rival's doping case.


Four years ago, he was upgraded to the gold medal in Athens after Hungary's Adrian Annus was stripped of first place.


The Polish kayaker Adam Seroczynski, who finished fourth in the 1,000 metres men’s kayak, was disqualified after testing positive for clenbuterol, a banned drug that helps burn fat and promotes muscle growth.


Seroczynski and his teammate Mariusz Kujawski were also disqualified from the men’s 1,000m double kayak because of Seroczynski’s failed doping test.


In all, nine Olympians from the Beijing Games have failed doping tests, but that number may still grow.


The IOC announced this week that it is going back to test some blood and urine samples that were supplied by athletes in Beijing .


The testers are targeting Olympians in endurance sports like cycling, rowing, swimming and track and field.


Starting in January, scientists from World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited labs will begin testing about 400 blood samples from Beijing , looking specifically for the EPO (Erythropoietin)-like drug CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator), a previously undetectable drug that boosts endurance.


The samples will be tested at labs in Paris and Lausanne.


Also, about 100 urine samples from the Beijing Olympics will be tested for insulin, a hormone that can help build muscle mass.


The WADA's accredited lab in Cologne recently perfected a test for the hormone and will be testing the samples from Beijing .


The first results of the blood and urine tests are expected by the end of March.


Meanwhile, former Olympic champion Sergei Alifirenko, who pulled out of the Beijing Games citing an eye injury, was handed a two-year doping ban, the Russian Shooting Union (SSR) said today.


SSR director Alexander Mitrofanov said Alifirenko was punished for taking the banned substance dexamethasone as part of his treatment for the eye disease.


He said: "Of course, we were hoping that the International Shooting Federation (ISSF) would take into account several extenuating circumstances and issue a suspended sentence.


"But the ISSF chose to take a formal approach."


Mitrofanov said Alifirenko would be offered a coaching post even before his ban would expire in April, 2010.


He said: "We don't want him to waste his time and have offered him a coaching job in the Russian national team so he would share his great knowledge and experience with younger shooters."


Alifirenko won gold in the men's 25-metre rapid fire pistol at the 2000 Sydney Games and a bronze in the same event four years later in Athens .


The 49-year-old was withdrawn from the Russian team and was sent home from Beijing on the eve of the Olympic competition, while his coach explained the sudden pull out by poor form.


Alifirenko's ban is the latest in a series of doping offences by Russian athletes in recent months.


Seven leading female athletes, including twice world 1,500m gold medallist Tatyana Tomashova and world indoor 1,500m champion and record holder Yelena Soboleva, received two-year bans in October for manipulating their drug samples.