Three weightlifters lose 2008 gold medals

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­

The Chi­nese Olympic Com­mit­tee con­demned on Fri­day the dop­ing prac­tice of three Chi­nese weightlift­ing gold medal­ists at the 2008 Bei­jing Olympic Games and said China re­spected the de­ci­sions of the International Olympic Com­mit­tee to strip them of their medals.

Eight ath­letes were dis­qual­i­fied from the 2008 Bei­jing and 2012 Lon­don Olympic Games fol­low­ing a retest of their sam­ples, and three of them were Chi­nese women’s weightlift­ing gold medal­ists, ac­cord­ing to an IOC state­ment re­leased on Thurs­day.

Cao Lei, the 75-kg gold medal­ist, Liu Chun­hong, the 69-kg gold medal­ist, and Chen Xiexia, the 48-kg gold medal­ist, were stripped of their 2008 ti­tles af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for pro­hib­ited sub­stances. The IOC de­ci­sion took ef­fect im­me­di­ately on Thurs­day.

The Chi­nese Olympic Com­mit­tee promised on Fri­day to con­duct fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the case and pun­ish any­one in­volved in the vi­o­la­tions.

“China has made clean com­pe­ti­tion and fight­ing against dop­ing a top pri­or­ity,” the com­mit­tee said in a state­ment. “China has been tak­ing strict mea­sures to guar­an­tee clean sports and holds a ze­ro­tol­er­ance at­ti­tude to­ward dop­ing.”

The Chi­nese Weightlift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion also said that the case shows the sever­ity and com­plex­ity of root­ing out dop­ing, but the as­so­ci­a­tion will take it as a chance to im­prove its work and re­dou­ble its ef­forts against drug use.

In re­cent years, the IOC has taken spe­cial mea­sures to pro­tect clean ath­letes, such as retest­ing sam­ples from past Games with new meth­ods to un­cover any cheats.

Retest­ing also cov­ered other sports like ath­let­ics, cy­cling, swim­ming and wrestling.

The dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of the three Chi­nese weightlifters may re­sult in a one-year ban for Chi­nese ath­letes in all international weightlift­ing com­pe­ti­tions, like the Asian Cham­pi­onships in April.

The International Weightlift­ing Fed­er­a­tion said last year that coun­tries with three or more failed drugs tests in the retests of the Bei­jing and Lon­don Games can be banned for a year from all international com­pe­ti­tions. The fed­er­a­tion will de­cide whether Chi­nese weightlifters will now be banned.

The IOC also dis­qual­i­fied five other ath­letes from the Bei­jing and Lon­don Olympics, in­clud­ing Nadzeya Ostapchuk, of Be­larus, third in the women's shot put in Bei­jing, whose sam­ple showed pos­i­tive for an­abolic steroids.

Chi­nese Olympic Com­mit­tee

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