Iovu competes for third nation and claims gold

Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:00pm EDT
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FORDE, Norway - By Brian Oliver

A weightlifter who won an Olympic medal for Moldova, and then had a positive doping test while competing for Azerbaijan, seized European Championship gold on her first appearance for Romania on Monday.

Cristina Iovu, 23, whose family are of Romanian heritage, was born in Moldova and won bronze for them at the 2012 London Games.

She then switched allegiance to Azerbaijan, a nation that regularly gives passports to potential Olympic medalists from other nations.

The decision backfired for Iovu when she tested positive at the 2013 world championships in Wroclaw, Poland. That year 18 Azerbaijan lifters were sanctioned for doping offences.

Iovu was banned for two years before returning to competition last summer with Romania where she has held citizenship since 2012.

On the second day of competition on Monday, she did not make her first clean and jerk lift until her nine rivals had finished in the 53kg class but took the title ahead of Ukrainian Iulia Paratova who now has two European golds and three silvers since 2011.

In third place was 17-year-old Latvian Rebeka Koha who won the European 17-and-under and 20-and-under crowns last year.   Continued...