Russian Weightlifting Federation President Resigns Amid Doping Bans

Inside the Games is reporting that Sergey Syrtsov has resigned as head of the Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF)  after numerous positive doping tests came to light this summer and a subsequent ban kept all Russian weightlifting athletes and officials out of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Nine Russian weightlifters — including eight medalists — have been provisionally suspended and are set to lose their placements and medals after positive retests from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee has already requested the return of two Russian weightlifting medals from Beijing.

Syrtsov, who served as president from 2010 until his resignation, oversaw the nation’s weightlifting body in what turned out to be one of the most controversial periods in Russian sports. Earlier this summer, the McLaren implicated numerous Russian officials and athletes — across sports — in a state-organized doping scandal. While weightlifting took a back seat to track & field in mainstream media reports, sample retests from the previous two Summer Olympics resulted in nine positive tests for the nation’s lifters.

(Pictured below: Russian weightlifter Apti Aukhadov, originally silver in London but in position to lose his medal following a positive doping retest.)

In addition to the 2016 Olympic ban, the Russian Federation will be barred from international weightlifting competition for one year likely beginning for a period later this fall.

According to the Inside the Games report, Maxim Agapitov is set to take over as acting RWF President. Earlier this summer, the IWF released a statement that strongly criticized the decision of the European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) to name Syrtsov Chair of the EWF’s Anti-Doping Commission. It’s unclear at this time if Syrtsov’s resignation as Federation Head will extend to his previous appointment as the EWF’s Anti-Doping Chair.

In a statement announcing the nation’s ban roughly a week before the 2016 Rio Games, the IWF wrote perhaps its most direct criticism of Russian weightlifting to date:

The integrity of the weightlifting sport has been seriously damaged on multiple times and levels by the Russians, therefore an appropriate sanction was applied in order to preserve the status of the sport.

Featured Image: @aukhadov on Instagram