Five former Olympic, World and European champion weightlifters were provisionally suspended for violating the IWF Anti-Doping Policy.
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced the provisional suspension of five Russian weightlifters for anti-doping violations. The suspensions will begin on August 12, 2019. The five weightlifters were identified as Ruslan Albegov, Tima Turieva, Oleg Chen, David Bedzhanyan and Igor Klimonov.
The suspensions were based on the analyses of historical samples and electronic doping data of Russian athletes provided by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) earlier this year. The Russian government gave WADA access to this data so that its athletes would once again be allowed to participate in international competition.
The fallout from the 2016 McLaren Report is still causing headaches for Russian athletes.
In 2016, Russian athletes were suspended from all international competition after Western University law professor Richard McLaren found extensive evidence of a rampant, state-sponsored anti-doping program. The evidence was detailed in the 2016 WADA Independent McLaren Investigation Report (“The McLaren Report”).
As a pre-condition to be readmitted to the international sports community, the Russian government was forced to relinquish the historical electronic doping data that had been stored at the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.
IWF President Tamas Ajan attempted to minimize the seriousness of the violations. He emphasized that the alleged doping violations occurred several years ago. Furthermore, weightlifting was only one sport out of many that were swept up in the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal.
“The IWF regrets these additional cases of doping in our sport from some years ago,” Ajan said. “We note without any satisfaction that weightlifting was far from the only sport to have been affected by the extensive and historical Russian doping revealed by whistleblowers, the media and WADA.”
The affected Russian weightlifters included several champion athletes.
Ruslan Albegov was a former world champion who won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics in the men’s 105-kilogram weight class and gold medals at the 2013 IWF Wroclaw and 2014 IWF World Weightlifting Championships.
Tima Turieva was a former world champion who won the gold medal in the women’s 63-kilogram weight class at the 2013 IWF Wroclaw World Weightlifting Championships.
Oleg Chen was a former European champion who won the gold medal in the men’s 69-kilogram weight class at the 2013 and 2014 European Weightlifting Championships in Tirana and Tel Aviv, respectively.
David Bedzhanyan was former European champion who won the gold medal in the men’s 105-kilogram weight class at the 2012 and 2013 European Weightlifting Championships in Antalya and Tirana, respectively.
Igor Klimonov won the silver medal in the men’s 96-kilogram weight class in the clean and jerk and the total at the 2019 European Weightlifting Championships in Batumi.
WADA President Craig Reedie revealed that the five Russian weightlifters only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new sanctions resulting from the recent analysis of the RUSADA historical doping data. Reedie expects WADA to announce more than 100 additional doping violations involving Russian athletes in the near future.
RFE/RL. (August 13, 2019). Five Russian Weightlifters Suspended Over Alleged Doping. Retrieved from rferl.org/a/russian-weightlifters-doping-iwf-wada/30107751.html