Aleksey Lovchev Challenges IWF Suspension in Anti-Doping Meeting, Maintains Innocence

Following a provisional IWF suspension after his world record clean & jerk, Russian superheavyweight Aleksey Lovchev continues to maintain his innocence in an anti-doping appeal. On April 27th, Lovchev — who is still listed by the IWF as the clean & jerk world record holder following his 264 kilo lift at the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships — took to Instagram to update his fans on the proceedings and appeal, including his recent four-hour meeting with the IWF’s Anti-Doping Commission. Post (and rough translation from Russian to English) below:

In my case began proceedings on the merits. Since the IWF has rejected our proposal to hold hearings once the court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne (Switzerland), we met on the site IWF Anti-Doping Commission. The meeting lasted more than four hours, with a short break for coffee. We presented our position, supported by scientific research that proves that I did not use any banned substances and methods. The discussion was very rich. We answered all the questions. Unfortunately, our most vital question remained unanswered. We have refused to say when, at least roughly, expect solutions. Nevertheless, we hope that it will be announced as soon as possible. And if a solution IWF Anti-Doping Commission does not suit us, we will challenge it to CAS. To this end, additional consent IWF is not required.

Lovchev has maintained his innocence ever since the provisional suspension was handed down on Christmas Eve 2015. His suspension put a big damper in Russia’s plans for the Rio Olympics, as the superheavyweight looked to be in supreme shape and poised for a run at Olympic gold (especially with the participation of reigning Olympic champ Behdad Salimi still in question following ACL surgery). Absences from Lovchev and Salimi could leave the door open for Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze — now the reigning World Champion after Lovchev’s suspension — to claim the Olympic title.

Lovchev and Russian representatives seem poised for a lengthy battle to get his suspension (and any more permanent sanctions) overturned. Lovchev’s post references taking the case beyond the IWF appeals process to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). CAS is an independent judicial body set up to resolve disputes in sport when normal channels — and appeals within sport governing bodies like the IWF — fail or are deemed invalid.

Lovchev’s Olympic participation still seems unlikely at best, though we’ll keep our ears peeled for news on the lifter’s status. His recent post shows the world record holder (for now) isn’t willing to sit out competition without a fight.