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The International Weightlifting Federation will place a one-year ban on all weightlifters from Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan following the Rio Olympics, the body president said in an interview with AFP.
Tamas Ajan, who has led the federation since 2000, was blunt in his remarks, saying that the bans should be formally announced within two months, along with the possibility of at least four more countries joining the list.
“After the Games we will suspend these countries,” he said. “I give a guarantee about this… (It) will be Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.”
No Russian lifters are competing in Brazil due to a current IWF ban for repeated doping offences. However, Kazakhstan totaled five weightlifting medals in Rio while Belarus had two. The lifting competitions ended Tuesday. Ajan’s statement will only fuel questions about the validity of those seven marks, including a world record.
The 2016 Olympics have thrust the issue of doping in the athletic world to the forefront. It started before the Games as the entire Russian team came under the scrutiny of the International Olympic Committee. Following the Opening Ceremony, athletes in track, swimming and even Paralympians garnered international media attention on the issue.
Prior to this year’s Olympics, the IWF adopted a resolution that would hand a one-year competition suspension to any country that committed a total of three or more anti-doping violations in the retesting of samples from the last two Summer Games.
The IOC, however, didn’t complete the tests in time for the IWF to put those bans into effect ahead of Rio. Russia and Bulgaria were banned from Rio due to doping cases during qualifications.
Four years ago, the London Games were rife with illegal drug use, as all four Kazakhstan gold medalists tested positive following retesting. Three Belarus athletes tested positive.
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova and Turkey are the four countries most at threat of being suspended, according to the IWF website.