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Weightlifter Robles plans to compete in Rio after ban

Sarah Robles of the U.S. competes in the women's +75kg group A weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic G
Sarah Robles of the U.S. competes in the women's +75kg group A weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic G

(Reuters) - Weightlifter Sarah Robles, who was handed a two-year drugs suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), said she accepts her ban but hopes to compete in 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

A member of the U.S. team at the 2012 London Olympics, Robles tested positive for the presence of an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid in an out-of-competition and two in-competition urine samples collected by both USADA and the International Weightlifting Federation, the U.S. drug agency said in a statement.

Robles said she used a supplement containing the banned substance on advice from doctors to help treat polycystic ovary syndrome.

"While disappointed in their decision, I accept the conditions of my suspension, and I am grateful to the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) and USADA for taking all facets of my situation into consideration when their decision was made," Robles said in a statement.

"Although it breaks my heart to be away from the sport I love for two years, I made a choice to take care of my health as advised by my doctor.

"I have always advocated clean sport, and I still do. I also support a person's ability to take care of themselves and their health."

Called the strongest woman in America, Robles placed seventh in the +75 kilogram super-heavyweight division in London but gained attention for her story of perseverance, living on $400 a month while trying to secure a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad.

"I still have a lot to give as an athlete, and I plan on returning to weightlifting, with hopes to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro," said Robles. "I also plan to continue advocacy for positive body image, women's rights, and of course, clean sport."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Gene Cherry)

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