PARIS (AFP) – Russia and China were banned from international weightlifting on Saturday, ruling them out of the world championships, after reanalysed drugs tests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics returned at least three positive results each.
In all, nine nations were suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for a year with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine all sitting out the world championships in California from November 28-December 5.
The suspension was met with shock by Russia, which has been accused of widespread state-sponsored doping in recent years.
“I don’t see the good in this decision and I don’t understand the point,” Russian team coach Nikolaï Kolesnikov told R-Sport agency.
Oleg Pissarevski, the men’s team coach, added: “They don’t have the right to act like this. Why are they trying to kill the roots of weightlifting development in our country?
“We have changed the executives of the federation. The officials who sinned are no longer there. We exist under the rules, we do 60 checks a week. Our guys have prepared themselves very seriously, and now they have tears in their eyes.”
Chinese weightlifters will also miss the 2018 Asian Games as a consequence of the doping clampdown.
“At the IWF we have made it clear that the incidence of doping in some areas is totally unacceptable and that our members have a responsibility to ensure clean sport in their countries,” said IWF president Tamas Ajan.
“If they do not fulfil their responsibilities to ensure their lifters are clean then they will lose their right to participate.
“But we will not turn our backs on them; we will continue to work with them, WADA and their National Anti-Doping Agencies to support their anti-doping activities and help make cultural change.”
Russia was also banned from the weightlifting event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.