The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday upheld the suspensions of two of Bulgaria's Olympic medal hopefuls, high jumper Venelina Veneva and 400m sprinter, Vanya Stambolova, after the two were suspended for having tested positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition test in January 2007.
Both athletes, who share the same coach, Georgi Dimitrov, had their urine samples collected at an unexpected check during training in Budapest, Hungary on 24 January. Veneva also provided a further positive sample from an IAAF out-of-competition doping control conducted on 6-February in Sofia, Bulgaria.
"As far as the rules allowed us, we did our best to give the athletes a chance to prove their innocence," Bulgarian athletics federation president Dobromir Karamarinov said Tuesday.
"However, the court's decision is categorical and we accept it. Both athletes will miss the Beijing Games, but they will be able to compete again in April 2009."
Both athletes were provisionally suspended by the IAAF pending the result of the Bulgarian Athletic Federation's hearing on the two cases. The Bulgarian Athletic Federation cleared Stambolova and Veneva of doping violations in July in a controversial move, and forced the IAAF's Doping Review Board to take the case to the CAS.
The Bulgarian Athletic Federation stated they reversed the initial positive findings due to what they cited was incomplete analysis and "borderline" testosterone detection levels.
"When we received the positive result the 23rd of March, we asked them to even test the "B"-sample. The result was just on the border, and we have decided to not issue any sanctions," the Bulgarian news bureau Novonite quoted Karamarinov as stating.
The International Association of Athletics Federations sent the case directly to CAS following the Bulgarian association's decision, citing that the decision was in opposition to existing IAAF protocol.
The IAAF made a formal statement on the issue, stating that all three samples collected from the two athletes were analysed in the Lausanne WADA accredited laboratory where analysis of the urine samples were conducted by Isotope Ration Mass Spectrometry (IRMS).