March 16, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) Russian swimmer Vitaly Melnikov has been given a two-year doping ban and will be stripped of two European short-course championship medals.

Melnikov, a backstroke specialist, tested positive for banned substance EPO at the short-course competition in December 2013. He won a relay gold and silver in the 100 backstroke.

His ban, handed down Monday by the governing body of swimming, cancels his results from the championships.

Because of the ban, Russia will lose its gold medal in the men's medley relay, with Italy promoted to first. Melnikov's silver from the 100 backstroke will go to bronze medalists Camille Lacourt of France and Chris Walker-Hebborn of Britain.

Melnikov's ban, which has been backdated to the time he tested positive, will expire on Dec. 12.

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