Weightlifting: 'Eastern Bloc' cheats taking the sport down, says top official

Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:27pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Brian Oliver

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Paul Coffa, one of weightlifting’s best-known coaches and administrators who has been involved in the sport for more than half a century, has blamed former Soviet Bloc countries for persistent cheating that has once more damaged the image of the sport at the Rio Olympics.

Russia were banned from Rio for “bringing weightlifting into disrepute” and Bulgaria for multiple offences last year.

Six 2012 champions were excluded from Rio because of doping, including four from Kazakhstan and one from Poland. Two Poles were among the four weightlifting positives announced in the past 10 days. Of the 29 positives announced from reanalysis of 2008 and 2012 samples, 26 were from the pre-1989 Eastern Bloc.

“We have to do something or the sport will go down,” Coffa told Reuters.

Coffa, 74, General Secretary of the Oceania Weightlifting Federation and the Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation, and a former national coach of Australia, said, “Unfortunately I and many other coaches and officials worldwide know what clean athletes are facing year after year, world championships after world championships, Olympics after Olympics. We face certain countries which have absolutely no respect toward fair play.

“Unfortunately the Eastern Bloc is still there. You disqualify one and the next one comes from the same part of the world, and the next one.”