One-year suspensions of nine IWF member federations took effect this weekend as a result of anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. The countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine, none of which will be able to participate in the World Weightlifting Championships in California this November.
Samples from the Beijing and London Olympics were retested last year, and while many athletes have been suspended as a result of the retests, it took some time to take action against the member federations. According to a statement published by the IWF, the suspension occurred “following the decision of the IWF Executive Board on 30 September 2017 to approve the recommendation of IWF’s Tbilisi Commission and to uphold the Board’s decision of 22 June 2016.”
The member federations (MFs) will have three weeks to appeal the decision if they so choose to. If they don’t, they’ll be monitored by an independent monitoring group, mostly consisting of anti-doping experts from outside the sport of weightlifting, for the full year’s suspension. If the group is satisfied with the MF’s progress, a decision may be made to grant a Partial Conditional Reinstatement of their right to participate in international competitions, but this depends on “the gravity of the MF’s violation.”
President of the International Weightlifting Federation Tamas Ajan said,
“The steps taken in weightlifting today are unprecedented in the history of sport. They show our total commitment to protect clean athletes. It was clear to us at the IWF that the problems in these nine countries required whole national cultures to change. For many of these member federations, there has already been a change of leadership and work has already begun to change the culture. Of course, we welcome these developments, as they will facilitate to those federations to comply with the requirements of a clean sport.“
Ajan went on to say that anti-doping efforts will be implemented “with increased intensity” in the nine countries in the hopes that they can rejoin the IWF at the end of their suspension.
Featured image via IWF.net.