China and Russia among those given weightlifting doping bans

China and Russia are among the nine countries suspended from weightlifting for a year after drug tests came back positive.


China and Russia are among the nine countries suspended from weightlifting for a year after drug tests came back positive.

The decision was taken by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on Saturday, in an attempt to combat the doping epidemy in the sport.

Anti-doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics were retested, and countries with at least three offenses were suspended.

Along with China and Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine were also banned.

“We have made it clear that the incidence of doping in some areas is totally unacceptable and that our members have a responsibility to ensure clean sport in their countries,” said the IWF president Tamas Ajan in a statement.

“Massive doping problem”

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has stated that weightlifting is suffering from a “massive doping problem”.

The IOC is currently retesting hundreds of samples, using new techniques that uncover cheating that went undetected on previous years.

On August, three Chinese weightlifters - Cao Lei, Liu Chunhong and Chen Xiexia - were stripped of gold medals achieved at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Due to constant doping problems, the IOC warned in June that weightlifting events could be dropped from the 2024 Olympics.

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.” Weakened World Championships

The suspension of these nine countries, will probably mean a harshly debilitated Weightlifting World Championships, scheduled for November 28 to December 5 in Anaheim, California.

'The countries will receive official notification about the suspension mid-October, and at the IWF there is no possibility to compete as neutral or independent,' told IWF spokeswoman Lilla Rozgonyi to AP in a text message.

The suspension was received with shock by Russia, a country accused of widespread state-sponsored doping in recent years.

The men’s team coach, Oleg Pissarevski, spoke to the R-Sport news agency about the IWF’s decision: 'They don't have the right to act like this. Why are they trying to kill the roots of weightlifting development in our country?

'We have changed the executives of the federation. The officials who sinned are no longer there. We exist under the rules, we do 60 checks a week. Our guys have prepared themselves very seriously, and now they have tears in their eyes.'