According to outlet Vesti.kz, longtime Kazakhstani National Coach Aleksey Ni is stepping down as head of his country’s weightlifting team. Ni officially stepped down on November 25th.

Aleksey Ni

Aleksey Ni

Ni has been Kazakhstan’s highest ranking weightlifting coach since 1994, and during that time, he’s overseen the national team’s growth into a true powerhouse on the world stage. In the past decade especially, Kazakhstan has been among the world’s best nation’s for both men’s and women’s weightlifting, winning numerous World and Olympic Championships across a variety of weight classes.

However, recent doping suspensions now leave the nation’s lifters facing a one-year ban from international competition among other sanctions for individual athletes.

The country’s lifters have also been implicated in numerous doping violations following reanalysis of samples from the Beijing and London Olympic Games. Two-time Olympic Champion Ilya Ilyin — one of the most popular and famous athletes in Kazakhstan’s sporting history — has recently announced his retirement from competition after the IOC ordered him to return his medals; the IOC has so far stripped Kazakhstani lifters of seven Olympic medals from 2008 and 2012.

In a statement given to Vesti (translated), Ni took responsibility for what’s happened to the team:

I was the head coach at the two Olympic Games, so I am responsible for what happened to my team.

A full bio for Ni can be found on the Kazakhstani Federation’s website here.

Featured image: Kazakhstan’s Weightlifting Federation on Facebook

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BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day. David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.