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Tuesday 29, Aug 2017

  China Faces Weightlifting Ban After Weightlifters Lose Doping Appeal

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeals filed by Cao Lei (75kg) and Liu Chunhong (69kg) who were stripped of the gold medals they won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after they failed doping tests conducted eight years later.

In January, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ordered the two Chinese female weightlifters to return their medals from the Beijing Games after re-tests of samples tested positive for prohibited substances. Lei and Chunhong tested positive for banned human growth hormones. Compatriot Chen Xiexia, who won gold in the 48kg category in Beijing, was also disqualified by the IOC.

In a statement, the CAS said it had upheld decision of the International Olympic Committee against the two athletes. CAS said, the athletes as a consequence are disqualified from the events in which they participated: Chunhong Liu – Women’s 69kg (gold medal), and Lei Cao – Women’s 75kg (gold medal).

Liu was also the 2004 Athens Olympics champion in her weight class. Chen and Cao were world champions in 2007. Lei and Chunhong both tested positive for GHRP-2 that is known to stimulate the production of growth hormone while Liu also tested positive for Sibutramine, a banned stimulant. The IOC disciplinary commission, because of the similarities of the cases, urged the International Weightlifting Federation to investigate Chinese team coaches and officials. The IOC had then remarked that this suggests a possible involvement of the athlete’s entourage in these cases and the IWF is invited to investigate that situation and, if adequate, to take action against relevant people in the athlete’s entourage.

The lawyer for both athletes argued to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that the doping cases should be dropped as GHRP-2 was not specifically named in the prohibited list of substances published by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The single judge of CAS accepted the IOC case that a section of the list relating to “hormones and related substances” applied in these cases.

The gold medals won by Liu and Cao are now set to be reassigned to Oksana Slivenko of Russia and Kazakhstan’s Alla Vazhenina respectively. The medal of Chen has already been re-allocated to Chen Wei-ling of Taipei.

Under new rules adopted by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), a country can be banned for up to a period of four years if three of its lifters test positive in drug tests within a year. It is believed that China, in this first instance, may be handed a ban of one year. The IWF had promised automatic bans if a nation had three athletes testing positive in the IOC’s Beijing and London retests.

In June, the International Olympic Committee warned that weightlifting event could be dropped from the 2024 Olympics because of repeated doping failures. About 50 weightlifters have delivered positive results in drug retesting from Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics. Thomas Bach, the President of IOC, had remarked the International Weightlifting Federation has until December 2017 to deliver a satisfactory report to the IOC on how they will address the massive doping problems this sport is facing.

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Friday 18, Aug 2017

  Former Olympic Cycling Champion Fails Doping Test

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Samuel Sanchez, the former Olympic champion from Spain, has been suspended with immediate effect after testing positive for banned growth hormones, according to an announcement by the world governing body of cycling.

The 39-year-old Sanchez, who won the 2008 Olympic road race in Beijing and five individual stages in the Vuelta a Espana between 2005 and 2007 as well as an individual stage on the 2011 Tour de France, will now miss this year’s Vuelta that begins on Saturday in France.

In a statement, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) said on its website that Samuel Sanchez had been notified of an “Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of GHRP-2” from an out-of-competition test on August 9th. The UCI added Sanchez has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample in accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules. It added the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.

The governing body also remarked the doping control was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling.

GHRP-2 refers to GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) that are classified as “Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics” on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2017 Prohibited List. It is commonly used to increase lean body mass, reduce fat, and improve aerobic performance.

Team BMC Racing of Sanchez immediately announced his suspension and announced the rider would be replaced by Loic Vliegen in the Vuelta. In a statement, BMC said Sanchez has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect in accordance with BMC Racing Team’s zero tolerance policy and UCI regulation. The statement also reads that no further action will be taken until the results of the B sample are provided. The team also commented that all riders and staff are held to the highest ethical standard and BMC Racing Team is extremely disappointed to share this news on the eve of the Vuelta a Espana.

Sanchez vehemently denied doping allegations and remarked the positive test was a ‘total surprise.’ The cyclist added the lawyers have told him not to make statements because we have to wait for the result of the analysis of the B sample. The 2008 Olympic Road Race Champion said he is nearing the end of his professional career and it makes no sense for him to dope at this stage.

Sanchez, who turned pro in 2000 and who has been riding for BMC Racing since 2014, was expected to announce his retirement after Vuelta a Espana. BMC re-signed Sanchez for the 2015 season and his role was described by the team’s sporting manager Allan Peiper as similar to that in 2014, but with a greater focus on supporting and developing the team’s younger riders. The Spanish professional road bicycle racer had proven himself in hilly classics and stage races as one of the most important riders in the peloton in recent years. Known as one of the best descenders in the peloton, Sanchez won the Vuelta a Burgos in 2010, the Tour of the Basque Country in 2012, and five stages of the Vuelta a España.

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Friday 26, Aug 2016

  China Face One-Year Ban From Weightlifting

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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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