The International Weightlifting Federation has provisionally suspended Russian weightlifter Oleg Chen due to a violation of the IWF’s anti-doping policy.
The IWF hasn’t said much about the circumstances surrounding the -69kg athlete’s suspension and has only published the following short announcement on their website:
IWF reports that Mr. Oleg CHEN (RUS) has been charged with the violation of Article 2.2 of the IWF Anti-Doping Policy.
As a consequence, the Athlete is provisionally suspended in view of a potential anti-doping rule violation.
In any case where it is determined that the athlete did not commit an anti-doping rule violation, the relevant decision will also be published.
IWF will not make any further comments on the case until it is closed.
The section of the IWF’s Anti-Doping Policy to which the statement refers is titled, “Use or Attempted Use by an Athlete of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method.” Russian superheavyweight Ruslan Albegov was charged with the same violation last month, though as we pointed out then, a violation of section 2.2 doesn’t necessarily mean a positive doping test. The policy reads that a violation “may be established by any reliable means” such as,
(…) admissions by the Athlete, witness statements, documentary evidence, conclusions drawn from longitudinal profiling, including data collected as part of the Athlete Biological Passport, or other analytical information.
Russia, along with China, Kazakhstan, and six other weightlifting federations, is already in the midst of a one-year suspension caused by positive doping retests from the Beijing and London Olympics. But Chen is being suspended as an individual, which means that his suspension could last longer than Russia’s suspension. If Chen’s suspension is upheld — remember that right now, it’s just provisional — it also means that future penalties could be harsher, since an individual’s suspensions count when the IWF issues repercussions.
Chen is one of the strongest -69kg weightlifters in Russia and possibly on Earth. Just last month, he block snatched four kilograms over the world record: 170 kilograms (374.8 pounds). (Though he sometimes trains closer to 72kg bodyweight.)
Chen earned gold at the 2013 and 2014 European Championships, took home silver at the 2017 European Championships, and won silver at the Weightlifting World Championships in 2011, 2013, and 2015.
Featured image via @chenoleg on Instagram.