HAVANA — Cuba announced on Friday that it was kicking a weight-lifter out of the sport for life after he failed a drug test, making him the fifth athlete from the Caribbean island involved in drug scandal in the last year.

Ernesto Montoya Laurencio, of the 105 kilograms plus (231 pounds or more) category, failed an international dope test carried out July 6 at a local tournament in the eastern province of Holguin, said Cuba’s state-run National Sports Institute (INDER).

Montoya, who was not in Cuba’s pre-Olympic squad, was found to have traces of a performance-enhancing drug identified as ‘mantandienona,’ INDER said in a statement published in the ruling Communist Party’s daily newspaper Granma.

‘The Cuban sporting movement has been, is, and will be intransigent in the case of any evidence of doping, a harmful and unacceptable practice,’ the statement said.

Cuba is currently defending high-jump world record holder Javier Sotomayor and three other weight-lifters, all of whom failed dope tests at the Pan American Games in Canada last year. World athletic bodies have upheld bans on the four, but Cuba says they are victims of a plot to discredit its sports system.

Cuban rower Giovany Solo Lopez was also banned for life earlier this month after testing positive for metabolites of nandrolone in an out-of-competition test at a training camp in Mexico City. He was a member of the Cuban quadruple scull which has already qualified for the Sydney Olympic Games.

Neither Cuba’s sporting authorities, nor the island’s state-controlled media, have yet mentioned his case.

Source: SOCOG