Three Chinese Olympic champions in women’s weightlifting from the 2008 Beijing Games have failed doping tests conducted eight years later, the sport’s governing body (IWF) said on Wednesday.
The trio was among 15 weightlifters that tested positive for a variety of banned substances after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) retested samples using methods which were more advanced than the ones available at the time.
The 15 have all been provisionally suspended, the Budapest-based IWF said.
The gold medallists were Chen Xiexia, who won the 48kg category, Liu Chunghong (69) and Cao Lei (75).
Chen lifted 13kg more, Cao 16kg more, and Liu 31kg more than their closest rival — in a sport where there is often just a single kilogram between gold and silver.
Eleven weightlifters from the Beijing Games had already been suspended in July after testing positive.
One medal, the silver won by Turkey’s Sibel Ozkan in the 48kg, has already been stripped and will be reallocated.
Also in the dock were Russian weightlifters Dmitry Lapikov and Khadzhimurat Akkayev. Both athletes, who are bronze medallists of the 2008 Olympic Games, have also been provisionally suspended from competitions, reports Tass.
“In line with the relevant rules and regulations, the IWF imposed mandatory provisional suspensions upon the athletes, who remain provisionally suspended in view of potential anti-doping rule violations until their cases are closed,” the IWF said.
Lapikov and Akkayev are bronze medallists of the 2008 Olympic Games in the 105 kg and 94 kg categories, respectively. Akkayev also won silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
The list of 15 suspended athletes includes 11 medallists of the 2008 Olympic Games that include Belarusian, Chinese, Kazakhstani and Azerbaijani athletes.
The IWF announced on July 29 its decision to ban the whole Russian weightlifting team from the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro over numerous cases of violation of anti-doping rules.