3 Olympic weightlifting gold medalists fail doping retests
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Three Olympic champion weightlifters from China and eight other medalists stand to be stripped of their titles after failing retests of their doping samples from the 2008 Olympics.
The International Weightlifting Federation says the 11 tested positive for a range of banned substances in the latest scandal to shake the sport, which is already processing retests which caught numerous medalists from the 2008 and 2012 games. They are all provisionally suspended until the doping cases are resolved.
The IWF said in a statement on its website Wednesday that Chinese gold medalists Cao Lei, Liu Chunhong and Chen Xiexia all tested positive for GHRP-2, which stimulates growth hormone production, while Liu also tested positive for the stimulant sibutramine.
The other eight medalists include current world record holder Andrei Rybakou of Belarus, who won silver in 2008. All tested positive for various anabolic steroids, according to the IWF.
The other medalists are Anastasia Novikova of Belarus, Kazakhstan’s Maria Grabovetskaya and Irina Nekrasova, Russia’s Khadzhimurat Akkaev and Dmitry Lapikov, and Ukraine’s Natalya Davydova and Olha Korobka.
Four other weightlifters from Beijing 20008 who did not win medals were also named as having failed tests. They include Kazakhstan’s Maiya Maneza and Belarus’ Iryna Kulesha, both of whom won medals in 2012 but not 2008 and are already suspended over retests from 2012.
A further 10 lifters who competed at the 2008 Olympics, including five medalists, had already been suspended in June and July after failing an earlier wave of retests. One medal, the silver won by Turkey’s Sibel Ozkan in the women’s 48-kilogram class, has already been stripped.
The retests are part of an ongoing process led by the International Olympic Committee. Weightlifting at this month’s Rio Olympics has also been marred by doping, with Kyrgyzstan’s Izzat Artykov losing his bronze medal after testing positive.