On Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected an appeal by two of the three Chinese female weightlifters stripped of their gold medals for doping. Cao Lei and Liu Chunhong, who won the 75kg and 69kg categories respectively at the 2008 Games in Beijing, were disqualified in January following reanalysis of their drug tests. Chen Xiexia was also stripped of her gold medal. The three athletes tested positive for banned human growth hormones.
China could be handed a one-year ban
Since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, China have finished top of the medals table in weightlifting during all of the four subsequent Games. The confirmation of the CAS’ decision means that China could face a one-year ban from international weightlifting.
New rules adopted by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), state that a country can be banned for up to four years if within a year three of its lifters test positive in drug tests. However, in this first instance, it is believed that China will be handed a one-year ban.
The gold medals won by Liu and Cao are now set to be reassigned to Russia’s Oksana Slivenko and Kazakhstan’s Alla Vazhenina respectively. Chen’s medal has already been re-allocated to Taipei’s Chen Wei-ling.
Weightlifting could be dropped from the Olympics
The IOC warned in June that the weightlifting event could be dropped from the 2024 Olympics due to constant doping problems. About 50 weightlifters have obtained positive results in drug retesting from Beijing 2008 and London 2012. IOC president Thomas Bach stated that the IWF has until December 2017 "to deliver a satisfactory report to the IOC on how they will address the massive doping problem this sport is facing.”