Lausanne — Three female weightlifters from Kazakhstan have
been stripped of gold medals from the 2012 London Olympics after failing
retests of their doping samples.
The Kazakh lifters were among eight athletes sanctioned by
the International Olympic Committee on Thursday after their stored samples came
back positive for steroids.
Zulfiya Chinshanlo, Maiya Maneza and Svetlana Podobedova
have been stripped of the gold medals they won in the 53-kilogram, 63kg and
75kg divisions, respectively. All three tested positive for the steroid
stanozolol, with Chinshanlo's sample also containing oxandrolone.
The IOC did not say whether the medals would be reallocated
to other athletes. If that happens, Christine Girard of Canada would be
elevated to silver in the 63kg class and could get gold if a failed doping test
from a Russian lifter who was the original second-place finisher also results
in a ban.
Also Thursday, a female weightlifter from Belarus was
stripped of a bronze medal. Marina Shkermankova had finished third in the 69kg
class. Also disqualified were two other Belarusian lifters, a Russian hammer thrower
and a Russian pole vaulter, none of whom won medals.
Also read: Nigerian weightlifters feeling demoralized
The punishments for the Kazakh and Belarusian weightlifters
are now set to trigger an automatic one-year ban from all international
weightlifting competitions for the two countries under International
Weightlifting Federation rules imposing automatic bans if at least three of a
country's athletes fail Olympic retests.
The IOC said a case against a Russian wrestler who won a
silver medal was dropped because he died in a car crash three years ago. The
IOC disciplinary commission said Besik Kudukhov's result will stand because it
cannot rule on doping cases involving the dead.
"The situation is unsatisfactory as it implies that
Olympic results which would probably have had to be reviewed will remain
uncorrected," the commission noted in its ruling.
The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years so they can be
reanalyzed when improved testing methods become available.
The IOC recorded a total of 98 positive cases in recent
retests of samples from the London Games and 2008 Beijing Olympics, with almost
half of the cases in weightlifting.
Weightlifting has long struggled with doping, but is under
particular pressure over the retests. In one event from 2012, six of the top-10
finishers have tested positive.
In August, IWF president Tamas Ajan told The Associated
Press he hoped the sport would be allowed to stay on the Olympic program for
future games despite its struggles with steroids, and said he wanted to ban
leading countries from the sport for a year in a process he likened to shock
The retests have also implicated a Kazakh gold medalist who
is the sport's biggest star on social media. Ilya Ilyin has failed retests from
both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, though the IOC has not yet finished processing
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