Breaking: Kianoush Rostami Removed from Iran’s National Weightlifting Team

Kianoush Rostami, perhaps the number one Olympic weightlifter in Iran, has been dropped from Iran’s national weightlifting team after allegedly failing to show up for training sessions.

At the time of this writing, information is pretty scant, but the team’s coach Sajjad Anoushiravani released a statement.

Rostami has been dropped from the national team after not participating in the training. He will not be a member of our team in the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku in May. Rostami has been also dropped from the national team in the 2017 Asian Weightlifting Championship.

Currently in contention for the IWF’s Weightlifter of the Year 2016, the 85kg Rostami is an extraordinarily talented athlete. (Update: Rostami ultimately won the Lifter of the Year Award. Read our coverage here.) A veteran of the Olympics, World Championships, Asian Games, Asian Championships, World Junior Championships, and the Fajr Cup, Rostami has broken multiple world records in the men’s 85kg class.

At the Rio Olympics in 2016, he won gold and broke his own total world record by 1kg when he snatched 179kg (393.8lb) and clean & jerked 217kg (477.4lb) for a total of 396kg (871.2lb). (You can watch his performance here.)

At the Fajr Cup in May of the same year, he broke the oldest world record in international weightlifting (among senior competitors) with a 220kg (484lb) clean & jerk.

His placement in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is a little up in the air. After making a 171kg (376.2lb) snatch and a 209kg (459.8lb) clean & jerk for a total of 380kg (836lb), he took home a bronze medal. However, after Russian weightlifter Apti Aukhadov ultimately tested positive for turinabol and drostanolone, Aukhadov was forced to return his silver medal from the event, so it appears that Rostami’s final placement will move to second.

Removing Rostami from Iran’s national team is likely to be a controversial measure and will almost certainly hurt the country’s chances at the Islamic Solidarity Games and the Asian Weightlifting Championships. We’ll update you as more information comes in.

Featured image via @kianoush_rostami on Instagram.