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BULGARIA
Considered to be the world experts in weight-lifting, Bulgaria has recently come back into the limelight, after having been scrutinised by anti-doping controls since the 1988 Seoul games. This scrutiny has relaxed again in recent years, with the result that two medal-winning Bulgarian athletes at the Sydney 2000 Games being stripped for doping.Nevertheless, the Bulgarians dominated this sport during the 1970s, even managing to outclass the Russians, who up until then, had reigned supreme in this discipline. The Bulgarians proved their talents at the 1980 Moscow games, when they swept away eight gold medals. Finally, it was a Bulgarian athlete who won the first Olympic women's weightlifting title. Isabel Dragneva won the title in Sydney in 2000 in the 48kg class.As well as the weightlifting, Bulgaria excells in gymnastics, shooting and athletics where - following in the footsteps of high-jumper Kostadinova - the country won a gold medal in Sydney thanks to the efforts of young triple-jumper Tereza Marinova.
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