Weightlifter Mousavi Might Change Bronze for Silver

With Lithuanian weightlifter Aurimas Didzbalis’s doping test positive, Mousavi may be granted the silver medal of the 2017 Anaheim World Championships two months after the tournament
From right: Seyyed Ayoub Mousavi, Sohrab Moradi and Aurimas DidzbalisFrom right: Seyyed Ayoub Mousavi, Sohrab Moradi and Aurimas Didzbalis

Lithuanian weightlifter Aurimas Didzbalis, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and silver at the 2017 Anaheim World Championships, tested positive in a doping test last month and is likely to lose the silver medal.

Didzbalis, the popular 94 kilogram lifter, faces a suspension of at least eight years after testing positive for S-22, a selective androgen receptor modulator.

He was competing against two Iranian weightlifters Sohrab Moradi and Seyyed Ayoub Mousavi. Filling the gap between Moradi and Mousavi, Dizablis enjoyed second place after Moradi, who won a gold medal in Anaheim, California, and before Mousavi who finished third last December.

With Didzbalis’s doping test positive, Mousavi may be granted the silver medal two months after the tournament.

Two thirds of the 315 athletes in Anaheim were tested and four tested positives. While the result is an embarrassment to a sport fighting for its future Olympic status, the number represents a massive improvement compared to the previous World Championships, held in Houston, Texas, in 2015, where 24 cases were reported positive.

Didzbalis, 26, also tested positive in 2012, when he was banned for two years. He won the European title in 2015 and a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games behind Iran’s Sohrab Moradi.

The International Weightlifting Federation said that 212 tests were carried out in Anaheim, 67 percent of the competitors.

The sample collection authority was the United States Anti-Doping Authority and all analyses were carried out at the Los Angeles and Montreal laboratories accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

While the World Championships were taking place, the IWF presented a report to the International Olympic Committee on its efforts to combat the doping culture that has blighted the sport.

The IOC has effectively put weightlifting “on probation”. It is guaranteed a place at Tokyo 2020 and its participation beyond that date will depend on progress in tackling doping.

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