After several weightlifters from Thailand tested positive for banned substances following the 2018 IWF World Weightlifting Championships, it was to be determined whether or not Thailand would still be the host for the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships. Additionally, it was a question whether these doping violations would affect Thailand’s weightlifting representation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
This week, Thailand answered both of these questions, voluntarily removing its weightlifting team from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to The Associated Press.
Thailand will still host the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships in Pattaya from September 18th through the 27th , however they will have no competitors of their own.
Thailand’s decision came as a result of eight failed drug tests. A familiar name in that list of eight is Sopita Tanasan, a 49kg athlete who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Another familiar name is Sukanya Srisurat, who also won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the 55kg weight class.
Inside the Games shared a statement made by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) following Thailand Weightlifting Federation’s (TAWA) self-ban.
“The IWF Executive Board will not be reviewing TAWA’s decision at its meeting in September and therefore TAWA’s self-suspension and the suspension of Thai athletes from competing in weightlifting events will remain in place.”
As it stands, there will not be any Thai weightlifters competing, and there will be no review. The 2019 IWF World Weightlifting Championships is a gold level qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which means this competition will bring together many Olympic hopefuls from all over the world.
Thailand is just one of several countries that have faced doping charges. Just yesterday, it was announced five Russian weightlifters are under investigation for doping charges that surfaced from the previous Russian doping findings from Professor Richard McLaren and WADA Intelligence & Investigations departments (WADA & I&I).