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Powerlifter's life ban lifted 9 years later

BONN, Germany (AP) — An Azerbaijani powerlifter's life ban from the Paralympics has been lifted after proving that his former girlfriend spiked his drink with an anabolic steroid at the 2004 games in Athens.

The International Paralympic Committee said on Friday it could review Gunduz Ismayilov's case nine years later because he provided "new and very relevant evidence." "This is a very unique case with a unique set of circumstances," Toni Pascual, chair of the IPC anti-doping committee, said in a statement.

The IPC accepts that "his former partner — an athlete who also competed in Athens — admitted in a Baku court of law that she had sabotaged his drink in the Athens Paralympic Village." Ismayilov was banned for life after testing positive for stanozolol ahead of competing at the 2004 Athens Paralympics — his second positive test for doping.

He already served a two-year ban for testing positive for the steroid nandrolone after winning gold with a world record lift at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. The IPC said the proven sabotage by his former partner meant Ismayilov can compete again in future.

"The two had separated in 2003, and although they had remained on good terms, she had spiked the drink as a form of punishment," the Paralympics body said, adding that her admission "only came about following an investigation spearheaded by the athlete and his lawyer to prove his innocence."

Ismayilov must now be subject to three months of out-of-competition tests, and provide whereabouts information to be available for unannounced doping controls.

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