Stringent Drug Tests Applied to Weightlifting

Stringent Drug Tests Applied to WeightliftingStringent Drug Tests Applied to Weightlifting

Over half of the 377 weightlifters at the World Weightlifting Championships, which begins on Tuesday in Anaheim, California, will be drug tested as the sport begins a new chapter to try to retain its Olympic status after decisions taken by the governing International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

By the time of the last lift on December 5 in Anaheim, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will have begun deliberations on whether weightlifting should feature at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Reuters reported.

“We accept that in the past the incidence of doping in weightlifting has been too high,” says Hungarian Tamas Ajan, president of the IWF since 2000 and secretary general for 24 years before that.

Ajan, 78, was speaking in Anaheim at the weekend, where the IWF adopted a hard-line approach to doping at an executive board meeting. It will target “less than a dozen high-risk countries where there is an entrenched culture of doping that goes beyond weightlifting”. The countries involved were not named.

Of the 49 weightlifting positives in the re-testing of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics - more than any other sport - 43 were from nations formerly part of the Soviet Union.

Russia was banned from the Rio 2016 Games for repeated offences that “brought weightlifting into disrepute” and is also among the nine nations excluded from the world championships for having three or more of those 49 positives.

China is also banned from the world championships in Anaheim and, like Russia, has been accused of state-sponsored doping.

Doping allegations against China and Russia are under investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However, Russia, like the Chinese, has always denied any involvement in state-sponsored doping.

  New Rules

Under new rules approved by the IWF on Saturday, countries will face bans of up to four years “if they do not fulfill their anti-doping responsibilities”, which would keep them out of the Olympics.

A new Olympic qualifying system will also require athletes to compete more often than some do now.

There will be more out-of-competition testing, and a more detailed record of athletes’ coaching and support personnel.

The IWF’s anti-doping program will be handed over to an Independent Testing Authority.

A Clean Sport Commission set up by the IWF, including two German scientists, an American lawyer, and the president of the German Weightlifting Federation among its seven members, made the recommendations adopted this weekend, and will monitor progress over the next four years.

In June the IOC asked for an IWF report by December on how the governing body plans to deal with doping. Unless it is deemed “satisfactory” at an IOC meeting in Lausanne on December 5-6, weightlifting will lose its Olympic status after Tokyo 2020.

Because of the bans, and North Korea’s decision not to enter, 13 of 15 current world champions will not compete in Anaheim, leaving Tunisia, Mongolia and New Zealand, who have no pedigree in the sport at this level, to contend for medals.


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