Russia faces another Rio ban over dope tests

Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:24pm EDT
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By Brian Oliver

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia's weightlifters face being banned from the Rio Olympics, subject to confirmation by the International Olympic Committee, in another collective doping punishment to hit the country.

Five days after its track and field team's suspension from the 2016 Games was upheld, Russia's weightlifters are now also set to be suspended from the August 5-21 Olympics.

Belarus and weightlifting superpower Kazakhstan were also banned over failed retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics on Wednesday by the sport's governing body, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), which also punished other nations by reducing the number of available athlete slots in Rio.

Retrospective doping tests carried out by the IOC have led to 17 positives from 2008 and 2012, said the IWF. The governing body added there may be more cases to come.

The IWF is awaiting confirmation of those failures and a final tally from the IOC, who were not immediately available when contacted late on Wednesday by Reuters.

Earlier this week the IOC supported the IAAF's decision to continue its ban on all Russian track and field athletes as a collective punishment for the country's systematic doping problems, saying that such a decision was for each sport's federation.

Because of those results, and an unprecedented 24 positives at the weightlifting world championships in Houston, Texas, last November, a special meeting was called for this week in Tbilisi, host of this weekend's youth world championships.

The IWF, stressing its “zero tolerance” toward dopers, said it had taken 11 places away from teams who had committed four or more doping offences in 2015. Two of those teams were Russia and Kazakhstan, so the sanctions could yet be overtaken by a team ban. The others were Azerbaijan, North Korea and Moldova (two places each) and Belarus (one).   Continued...

The Russian national flag (R) and the Olympic flag are seen during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia, February 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo