Refugee athlete on IOC scholarship suspended over doping test

MONACO -- A refugee athlete on an IOC scholarship to train for the Paris Olympics has been provisionally suspended in a doping case, the Athletics Integrity Unit said Wednesday.

Fouad Idbafdil, 35, was sent a notice of allegation, the AIU said, after testing positive for the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO in October.

The runner is provisionally banned from competing while the case is prosecuted just eight months ahead of the 2024 Summer Games in France, where he now lives.

The International Olympic Committee said this past December that Idbafdil was among more than 50 refugee athletes getting financial help in their host countries to prepare for Paris.

The Refugee Olympic Team debuted at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, and a team of 29 athletes went to the Tokyo Games held in 2021.

Idbafdil is originally from Morocco, the IOC said in his prolife page on its official website.

"After joining the army, he was forced to find a safer place to live. He went to Europe, first to Sweden and then to France, where he obtained refugee status," the Olympic body said.

Idbafdil competed at two world championships this year: the cross-country worlds in February in Australia in the mixed team relay, and in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the track worlds in August in Budapest, Hungary.