Weightlifters Dumitru Captari of Romania and Nijat Rahimov of Kazhakstan have been “provisionally suspended until the resolution of their respective affairs” by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). This is according to a public disclosure released by the IWF. The International Testing Agency’s (ITA) review of the case file “Operation Arrow,” sent to them by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), resulted in anti-doping rule violations against both weightlifters for sample swapping — also known as “döpplegangers.”
Officially, the ITA has charged both Captari and Rahimov with “urine substitution,” the anti-doping violation as cited in Article 2.2. of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules, which reads as follows:
Use or Attempted Use by an Athlete of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method
The Athletes’ personal duty is to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters their bodies and that no Prohibited Method is Used. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, Fault, Negligence, or knowing Use on the Athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an anti-doping rule violation for Use of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method.
The success or failure of the Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method is not material. It is sufficient that the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method was Used or Attempted to be Used for an anti-doping rule violation to be committed.
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The 27-year-old Rahimov competed in the 77-kilogram weight class at the 2015 IWF World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games — where he set a clean & jerk world record of 214 kilograms (471.8 pounds). He won gold at both competitions.
However, this urine substitution violation occurred during the period of time that encompasses the 2016 Rio Games. That means that Rahmiov may be in jeopardy of losing his medals depending on the resolution of his violation. If his medal is stripped — something that happened to 2012 London Olympic Games gold medalist Oleksiy Torokhtiy — then it would pass down to 2012 Olympic Games gold medalist Lü Xiaojun of China. Xiaojun posted the same total as Rahimov at the 2016 Games but received silver for weighing more (the tie-breaker at the time).
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The 31-year-old Captari competes in the 77-kilogram weight class. In 2016, he won the bronze at the IWF European Championships. In 2017, he won gold in that same event but was provisionally suspended after it was discovered that he was one of four weightlifters to have banned substances found in their systems. In Captari’s case, the banned substance was ephedrine, which is a diuretic and masking agent.
2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed until July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021, due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Weightlifters from Thailand and Malaysia are banned from the 2020 Games for violations of the IWF Anti-Doping Policy. Russian athletes will be able to compete at the 2020 Games as “neutrals” — meaning they will not be allowed to fly the Russian flag, bear it on clothing, or have the Russian national anthem played. Russia received a ban from WADA in 2019. That ban, originally slated for four years, will only last two years following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The 2020 Games will also be the first to include the new Olympic weightlifting bodyweight categories as approved by the IWF Executive board in 2018. There will be 196 athletes allowed to compete across all divisions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. However, the International Olympic Committee has reduced the athlete quota to 120 and just five bodyweight categories for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
We will update this article with further information regarding Captari’s and Rahimov’s suspensions as it is made available.
Feature image from Nijat Rahimov’s Instagram page: @nijat.raximov