Chinese Weightlifting Could Face 1-Year Competition Ban After Positive Retests

Earlier today, the BBC reported China’s weightlifting federation could face a 1 year ban from international competition after three of the country’s gold medalist from the 2008 Beijing Olympics tested positive in doping retests.

The report came shortly after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) published the official sanctions for eight athletes from the 2008 Olympics, which include Chinese weightlifters Cao Lei (75kg), Chen Xiexia (48kg), and Liu Chunhong (69kg). All three won gold medals at the 2008 Games.

Chunhong was also the gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games resulted in numerous positive results. In this case, the Chinese athletes tested positive for the following.

Chunhong tests positive for prohibited substances GHRP-2 and metabolite (GHRP-2 M2), and sibutramine.

Xiexia tests positive for prohibited substance GHRP-2 and metabolite (GHRP-2 M2).

Lei tests positive for prohibited substance GHRP-2 and metabolite (GHRP-2 M2).

Each of the above athletes will have their results disqualified from the 2008 Olympic Games.

According to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), “national federations confirmed to have produced three or more anti-doping rule violations in the combined re-analysis process of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games shall be suspended for one year.” 

Now, it seems likely that China will face a the one-year ban from IWF-sanctioned competition. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia are currently facing one-year bans from competition after each accruing three or more positive retests.

Other countries — like Turkey and Armenia — are also facing bans, though as with the Chinese Federation, their official sanctions have yet to be announced.


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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 In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and, as well as a contributor to, 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.