Russia gains and loses in Olympic doping chaos

Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:03pm EDT
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By Brian Oliver

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia could gain three weightlifting gold medals stripped from other nations' competitors because of doping positives reaching back as far as two Olympics, but could also lose quota places at the Rio Games because of its own team's transgressions.

The governing International Weightlifting Federation meets in Tibilisi this week to tackle challenges arising from the use of new technology in reviewing urine and blood samples taken at past tournaments. The disputes mirror a doping scandal shaking world athletics that has led to a Rio ban for Russian athletes.

Monday was the deadline for the IWF to tell nations how many places they would have at the Rio Games in August.

"We have contacted all federations and given them their Olympic quotas, but they are subject to legal procedures and other decisions," said Attila Adamfi, director general of the IWF. 

Nations with four or more lifters testing positive within the two-year Olympic qualification period can have one or more team places taken away from them. Bulgaria has already been banned from Rio for having 11 lifters test positive for anabolic steroids last year, and Romania and Uzbekistan have lost one place each.

The most popular weightlifter in the world, Ilya Ilyin from Kazakhstan, stands to lose both his Olympic gold medals from 2008 and 2012, and the chance to win a third, which he was expected to do this summer.

Ilyin tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol when samples from London 2012 were retested. On Monday it was announced that he also tested positive for stanozolol in 2008, again on reanalysis carried out by the International Olympic Committee.

Ilyin, a multiple world record holder who has nearly 400,000 fans on social media, had attributed his many successes partly to his diet, first of horse meat then, after 2012, to his newly adopted vegetarianism.   Continued...

Russia's Natalya Zabolotnaya lifts on the women's 75Kg group A weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue at the London 2012 Olympic Games August 3, 2012.                REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler