3 weightlifters stripped of Olympic golds in dop­ing cases

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Three fe­male weightlifters from Kaza­khstan have been stripped of gold medals from the 2012 Lon­don Olympics after fail­ing retests of their dop­ing sam­ples. The Kazakh lifters were among eight ath­letes sanc­tioned by the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee on Thurs­day after their stored sam­ples came back pos­i­tive for steroids. Zul­fiya Chin­shanlo, Maiya Maneza and Svet­lana Podobedova have been stripped of the gold medals they won in the 53-kilo­gram, 63kg and 75kg di­vi­sions, re­spec­tively. All three tested pos­i­tive for the steroid stanozolol, with Chin­shanlo’s sam­ple also con­tain­ing oxan­drolone. The IOC did not say whether the medals would be re­al­lo­cated to other ath­letes. If that hap­pens, Chris­tine Gi­rard of Canada would be el­e­vated to sil­ver in the 63kg class and could get gold if a failed dop­ing test from a Rus­sian lifter who was the orig­i­nal sec­ond-place fin­isher also re­sults in a ban. Also Thurs­day, a fe­male weightlifter from Be­larus was stripped of a bronze medal. Ma­rina Shk­er­mankova had fin­ished third in the 69kg class. Also dis­qual­i­fied were two other Be­laru­sian lifters, a Rus­sian ham­mer thrower and a Rus­sian pole vaulter, none of whom won medals. The pun­ish­ments for the Kazakh and Be­laru­sian weightlifters are now set to trig­ger an au­to­matic one-year ban from all in­ter­na­tional weightlift­ing com­pe­ti­tions for the two coun­tries un­der In­ter­na­tional Weightlift­ing Fed­er­a­tion rules im­pos­ing au­to­matic bans if at least three of a coun­try’s ath­letes fail Olympic retests. The IOC said a case against a Rus­sian wrestler who won a sil­ver medal was dropped be­cause he died in a car crash three years ago. The IOC dis­ci­plinary com­mis­sion said Be­sik Kudukhov’s re­sult will stand be­cause it can­not rule on dop­ing cases in­volv­ing the dead. “The sit­u­a­tion is un­sat­is­fac­tory as it im­plies that Olympic re­sults which would prob­a­bly have had to be re­viewed will re­main un­cor­rected,” the com­mis­sion noted in its rul­ing. The IOC stores dop­ing sam­ples for 10 years so they can be re­an­a­lyzed when im­proved test­ing meth­ods be­come avail­able. The IOC recorded a to­tal of 98 pos­i­tive cases in re­cent retests of sam­ples from the Lon­don Games and 2008 Bei­jing Olympics, with al­most half of the cases in weightlift­ing. Weightlift­ing has long strug­gled with dop­ing, but is un­der par­tic­u­lar pres­sure over the retests. In one event from 2012, six of the top-10 fin­ish­ers have tested pos­i­tive. In Au­gust, IWF pres­i­dent Ta­mas Ajan told The As­so­ci­ated Press he hoped the sport would be al­lowed to stay on the Olympic pro­gram for fu­ture games de­spite its strug­gles with steroids, and said he wanted to ban lead­ing coun­tries from the sport for a year in a process he likened to shock ther­apy. The retests have also im­pli­cated a Kazakh gold medal­ist who is the sport’s big­gest star on so­cial me­dia. Ilya Ilyin has failed retests from both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, though the IOC has not yet fin­ished pro­cess­ing those cases.

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