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Italy's Baldini fails drugs test

Fencer Andrea Baldini, a leading Italian gold medal hope for the Beijing Olympics, has failed a doping test, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Friday.

The 22-year-old, who won the silver medal in the foil at the 2006 and 2007 world championships, tested positive for the diuretic furosemide during the European fencing championship in Kiev last month, a CONI spokesman said.

Baldini, ranked number one in the world, has been suspended from the team but could be restored for the Games should a second sample prove negative, the Italian Fencing Federation told Reuters.

"We heard last night that that was the result ... we have now asked for the counter-analysis (B sample)," said Federation president Giorgio Scarso.

He said the medication was used in hospitals in cases of cardiac arrest, although it is banned by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) because it can be used as a masking agent for other drugs.

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