The International Weightlifting Federation confirmed on Thursday that three failed retests of drug test samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics will lead to automatic ban on China if the doping allegations are proven and the athletes in question would be disqualified by the International Olympic Committee.

Three Olympic champion weightlifters from China and eight other medalists stand to be stripped of their titles after failing retests of their doping samples from the 2008 Olympics. The International Weightlifting Federation says the 11 tested positive for a range of banned substances and they are all provisionally suspended until the doping cases are resolved.

In a statement on its website, the IWF said Chinese gold medalists Cao Lei, Liu Chunhong, and Chen Xiexia all tested positive for GHRP-2 that stimulates growth hormone production, while Liu also tested positive for the stimulant Sibutramine. In a statement posted on its website, the IWF said, it in line with the relevant rules and regulations 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 statement further reads the IWF following the IOC’s decisions will be in a position to take over the results management of these cases and it was remarked the relevant decision shall also be published should it be determined in any of the cases that no anti-doping violation was committed. It was also commented that the International Weightlifting Federation will not make any further comments on the cases until they are closed.

The other eight medalists include current world record holder Andrei Rybakou of Belarus, who won silver in 2008, all of whom tested positive for various anabolic steroids. The list of other medalists includes Anastasia Novikova of Belarus, Kazakhstan’s Maria Grabovetskaya and Irina Nekrasova, Russia’s Khadzhimurat Akkaev and Dmitry Lapikov, and Ukraine’s Natalya Davydova, and Olha Korobka. The IWF also revealed four other weightlifters from Beijing 20008 who did not win medals were also named as having failed tests and they include Kazakhstan’s Maiya Maneza and Belarus’ Iryna Kulesha, both of whom won medals in 2012 but not 2008 and are already suspended over retests from 2012.

In June and July, a further 10 lifters who competed at the 2008 Olympics, including five medalists, had already been suspended and the silver medal won by Turkey’s Sibel Ozkan in the women’s 48-kilogram class, has already been stripped.

China now faces a ban of one year from weightlifting over repeated doping cases in a move that threatens to stop some of the top athletes of the world from competing internationally. China is the most dominant country of the world in weightlifting having topped the table at every Olympics since 2000. It won seven medals in Rio de Janeiro this month, five of them gold.

The Chinese Weightlifting Association (CWA) expressed shock at the findings of the re-tests and affirming its strict anti-doping credentials. A statement translated from the CWA website reads we will follow the relevant IWF and IOC requirements to actively cooperate with the investigation and it was further said that people found responsible will not be tolerated and will be severely punished in accordance with law if violations are confirmed.

The International Weightlifting Federation also announced Azerbaijan and Ukraine have joined Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that were already facing one-year bans under earlier announcements.

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