SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria have withdrawn from this year's European weightlifting championships in Georgia after 11 athletes tested positive for doping, the European weightlifting federation (EWF) said.
Eight male and three female Bulgarians, including three European champions, tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol at a training camp in Sofia.
"I can confirm that the Bulgarian team will not participate in Tbilisi," Hasan Akkus, the EWF's general secretary told Reuters on Friday.
"I've already received a letter from the Bulgarian weightlifting federation.
"Bulgaria submitted 12 individual applications but as you know 11 weightlifters tested positive for doping and they informed us they can't find replacements in such a short period."
The European championships will be held in Tbilisi, Georgia from April 9-18.
The Bulgarian federation faces another suspension from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
Bulgarian weightlifting has suffered repeated embarrassment due to doping cases and the national body was temporarily stripped of its licence in 2009.
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Ed Osmond)