Russia Withdraws Its Appeal of One-Year Doping Ban

After a meeting between the new president of the Russian Weightlifting Federation (Maksim Agapitov) and the head of the International Weightlifting Federation (Dr. Tamas Ajan) in Budapest on Wednesday night, Russia has formally withdrawn their appeal of their one-year doping ban. The appeal was scheduled to take place in the Court of Arbitration (CAS) the next day, January 26.

Agapitov, a 1997 World Championship 91kg gold medalist (who personally served a two year doping ban between 1994 and 1996) promised instead to help clean up the sport. “Our main objective is to restore order and discipline,” he said.

Last July, Russia was handed a one-year ban from the IWF that included a ban on any competition in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The ban also included Belarus and Kazakhstan.

It was handed down after the IWF instated a rule that any country with three or more positive retests from the previous two Olympic games would be banned from international competition for a year. In Russia’s case, retests showed that nine weightlifters, including eight who won medals, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized his country’s officials for failing to take anti-doping efforts seriously, and then-head of the RWF Sergey Syrtsov resigned amidst the controversy.

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Russia swiftly filed an initial appeal with the CAS, which was quickly rejected. In the interim, Russia has been holding its own weightlifting competitions, including the Geraklion contest that was held in the suburbs of Moscow last July, during which several athletes recorded lifts that would have medalled in the Olympics.

At the time of writing, the CAS is still set to hear Belarus and Kazakhstan’s appeals this week. Azerbaijan, Armenia, China, Moldova, Turkey, and Ukraine may also face bans once the International Olympic Committee has confirmed all of their outstanding cases.

Featured image via @aukhadov on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.