The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on Wednesday disclosed the names of 15 past Olympians, including three Beijing 2008 gold medallists, who failed doping tests after their samples were re-analysed.
The re-analysis programme was launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) focusing on Beijing 2008 and London 2012 medal winners, as part of an effort to combat drug cheating in sport. “The IWF imposed mandatory provisional suspensions upon the athletes,” the Lausanne, Switzerland-based federation said in a statement. Headlining the group are three Chinese champions: Cao Lei (-75 kg), Chen Xiexia (-48 kg) and Liu Chunhong (-69 kg), who all claimed gold in Beijing. Liu also won gold in Athens 2004. Three Belarussians — Andrei Ryaboku (silver medallist at Athens and Beijing), Nastassia Novikava (bronze, Beijing) and Iryna Kulesha (bronze, London) — were among those sanctioned.
Kazakhstan’s Mariya Grabovetskaya (bronze, Beijing) Maya Maneza (gold, London) and Irina Nekrassova (silver, Beijing) were implicated, along with Russia’s Khadzhilurat Akkayev (silver Athens and bronze, Beijing) and Dimitri Lapikov (bronze Beijing). Ukraine’s Natalya Davydova (bronze Beijing) and Olha Korobka (silver Beijing) also failed tests.
The two competitors who have never medalled but flunked the IOC re-analysis were Vladimir Sedov and Nizami Pashayev, both from Azerbaijan. The IOC is grappling with a range of doping crises beyond the just-concluded Rio Games, vowing to overhaul the global testing system in the coming months.
Doping continued to plague weightlifting in Rio, where five competitors tested positive, including bronze medallist Izzat Artykov of Kyrgystan.