Over the weekend, news one Kazakhstani news outlet reported that weightlifter Ilya Ilyin’s suspension for doping will be concluded in seven months. This report came from the Kaz Inform, an International Kazakhstani news agency. It’s worth noting that the IWF has yet to confirm this news in the press or on their website, IWF.net.
Last year in June, the IWF announced that ten weightlifters from the 2012 London Olympics would be receiving bans of at least least two years for failed doping re-tests, which Ilyin was a part of. Ilyin’s sample from the 2008 Beijing Olympics also tested positive for doping. Then in October 2017, Kazakhstan’s team was the nine nations that received one-year International competition bans from the IWF for doping violations.
If this news report holds true — and again, it has yet to be officially confirmed by the iWF — then it’s going to be interesting to see how changes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could impact his return to the sport. The International Olympic Committee has made it clear that they want to re-work the men’s weight classes due to the previous issues with the men’s 94kg weight class, but it’s worth noting that Ilyin did compete at 105kg most recently before his suspension.
Ilyin has expressed in a few interviews that he has the intention of coming back to the international stage. In November, we reported on Ilyin’s interview with Men’s Health Kazakhstan, and he was pretty clear with what his future goals are. We’ve excerpted several of the Men’s Health questions and Ilyin’s answers below.
Men’s Health: What is more important for you now: to keep the medals of the world championships or get the opportunity to compete in 2019 and 2020?
Ilyin: I cannot say for sure. Those medals are dear to me and I worked for them all my life. Above all, I’m not as confident in my strength for Tokyo as I was before. I was 99% confident, now I’m only 90% (laughs).
MH: What is the probability of being allowed to compete in Tokyo?
Ilyin: The lawyers say 90 percent.
MH: And if you do get the right to compete, you’ll go to Tokyo?
Ilyin: I’ll try. Of course, I’ll try. In the future I don’t want to regret not doing it. I’m 29 years old – the height of my sporting career. If I leave now it would be like a little upset child leaving. (…) If the body is ready, I will try to perform at some championship. If I win, I’ll go further. (…) But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Once these final seven months pass in his suspension, we’re still uncertain when or if Ilyin will make his official formal return to the platform.
Feature image screenshot from @ilyailyin_4ever Instagram page.