BEIJING (AFP) — The Paralympics suffered its second doping scandal in as many days Wednesday, with a German wheelchair basketballer kicked out of the event for taking a banned drug contained in hair loss treatment.
A statement from the German National Paralympic Committee said Ahmet Coskun had tested positive for finasteride after a pre-competition urine test on August 23.
The substance is used in a drug against hair loss and is on a list of banned substances, according to the statement.
It said that although finasteride does not enhance performance, it can be used to cover up drugs that do.
"I was thinking about my hair and had no idea that the drug, which is against hair loss, contained a banned substance. I'm very upset. I never intended to do doping," Coskun said, according to the statement.
German chef de mission Karl Quade expressed regret at the news.
"We take the issue of anti-doping very seriously. We've been carrying out an intensive anti-doping campaign for years in cooperation with NADA (the German anti-doping agency)," Quade said in the same statement.
Coskun, 33, who played for Germany in three of Germany's pool matches but not in Wednesday's 73-63 win over Iran, will return home soon, German paralympic chiefs said.
On Tuesday, Pakistani powerlifter Naveed Ahmed Butt, 37, tested positive for the steroid methandienone metabolites on September 4, two days before the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, China sat atop the medals table, boasting 22 golds at the latest count, and once again leapfrogging Britain.
On 20 golds, the British have been boosted by a remarkable 12 track cycling golds, continuing the domination of the sport they showed at the Olympics.
"We're delighted with the British performances across the sports so far and to be where we are in the medals table at this stage is fantastic," said British chef de mission Phil Lane.
He admitted it would be difficult to stay with China, who have a far bigger team competing in Beijing, although that had not dampened spirits as the British were well on their way to achieving their goal of 35 to 40 golds.
In the evening's action, Polish teenager Natalia Partyka was set to take on China's Fan Lei in the gold medal match in her table tennis class.
She is one of only two Paralympians who also competed at last month's Olympics, along with South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, who already has two golds out of the five she is aiming for.
Partyka, born with a right arm that ends at the elbow, will defend the title she won in Athens four years ago.
The 19-year-old has proved she can mix it with the top able-bodied players, defeating Singapore's Li Jia Wei, ranked six in the world, at this year's world team championships in China.
More than 4,000 competitors from nearly 15 countries and regions are battling for 472 gold medals in 20 sports at the eye-catching venues used for the Olympics such as the "Bird's Nest" and the Water Cube.
The sports at the Paralympics, which end on September 17, include athletics, swimming, powerlifting, wheelchair fencing and five-a-side and seven-a-side football, as well as the lesser-known goalball and boccia.
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