The International Weightlifting Federation will ban Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus from competing for one year after the Rio Olympics finish because of doping, its chief told AFP in an interview.
IWF president Tamas Ajan said the governing body would announce the bans at the end of September or beginning of October, adding that he expected to punish several other nations as well.
“After the Games we will suspend these countries. I give a guarantee about this... (It) will be Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus,” Ajan told AFP at the Rio Games.
Weightlifting has long been afflicted by doping scandals and the IWF has undertaken a major crackdown on athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, often from former Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc countries.
It prevented Russia and Bulgaria, both traditional powerhouses, from competing in weightlifting at the Rio Olympics for repeated and high-profile doping offences.
The IWF had also wanted to bar Kazakhstan and Belarus but the International Olympic Committee was unable to complete retesting of samples from the Beijing and London Games in time.
The weightlifting body adopted a resolution in June that said any country who returns three or more positive drugs tests from the reanalysis of samples from the last two Olympics would be suspended for a year.
“The reanalysing is not finished. I am awaiting more information but I expect there will be some more countries that we will suspend,” said the 77-year-old Ajan.
“We wish weightlifting to be a clean sport and there’s only one way. We have to ban all the countries which violate our rules.
“I think at end of September, October we will announce which countries will be suspended,” Ajan added, saying it would be a “very painful decision” for him.
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova and Turkey are the countries most at threat of being suspended, according to public disclosures showing failed tests posted on the IWF website.
Ajan’s comments cast some doubt on the legitimacy of the seven medals won by Kazakhstan and Belarus in Brazil, before the weightlifting competition, which ended on Tuesday, has even finished.