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Maltese athlete fails dope test

The Maltese Olympic Committee encountered an unexpected hurdle just a few days before announcing the squad for Rio.

The Maltese Olympic Committee encountered an unexpected hurdle just a few days before announcing the squad for Rio.

A Maltese athlete, who was selected to represent Malta at the Olympic Games, has been suspended temporarily after failing a doping test, the Times of Malta has learnt.

Although the athlete has not been named, widespread reports suggest that is Kevin Arthur Moore.

The track and field member returned a positive result for a prohibited substance during a screening test conducted by the Maltese Olympic Committee in June for all members of Team Malta who will be competing in Rio between August 5 and 21.

The athlete is contesting the doping suspension and is set to have a disciplinary hearing before the Malta Amateur Athletics Association (MAAA). He also faces charges from the National Anti-Doping Organisation.

It remains to be seen if the Maltese Olympic Committee will eventually select another track and field athlete, besides sprinter Charlotte Wingfield, to participate in the Rio Games.

Contacted yesterday, MAAA president Edwin Attard declined to give comments.

However, an official announcement is expected tomorrow during a news conference at the MOC headquarters in Tal-Qroqq. The flag-bearer for the Games’ opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium will also be announced.

Apart from track and field, the country will be represented in shooting, swimming and weightlifting in Rio de Janeiro.

Andrew Chetcuti will be the only member in Team Malta who has qualified for the Olympic Games on his own merit. The US-based swimmer secured his berth at a Luxembourg meeting in February when he achieved the ‘B’ qualifying standard in the 50 metres freestyle, clocking 23.04 seconds.

Nicola Muscat will also compete in swimming competitions, to be staged at the Olympic Aquatic Arena between August 6 and 13.

In weightlifting, the MOC were forced to make a late change after first-choice Rodmar Pulis suffered an injury. He is being replaced by Kyle Micallef.

William Chetcuti and Eleonor Bezzina will represent the country in shooting events.

Both earned the right to compete in the Games after receiving an invitation from the IOC Tripartite Commission earlier this year.

Chetcuti, preparing for his fourth appearance in the Olympics, will compete in the Double Trap while Bezzina has been registered for the 10m air-rifle and the 25 metres air-pistol events.

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