Olympic champion charged in weightlifting doping case

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London, Jan. 19, 2021 Kazakhstan weightlifter Nijat Rahimov, a gold medalist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, has been charged with a doping offence for swapping urine samples, the International Testing Agency (ITA) has said.

The ITA also charged Dumitru Captari of Romania with offences which took place “over a period of time in 2016”.

Captari had competed alongside Rahimov in the under-77 kg event in Rio de Janeiro.

Both athletes have been provisionally suspended but it is unclear if the allegations span the 2016 Rio Games where Rahimov claimed gold with a world record lift.

“During the investigation of the incident the athlete is temporarily suspended from all sports events and training camps,” Kazakhstan’s weightlifting federation (WFRK) said in a statement.

“Adhering to the policy of `zero tolerance’ for doping the federation will provide all necessary support to the ITA in conducting an objective investigation.

“Also WFRK will provide legal assistance to our athlete if needed.”

Romania’s weightlifting federation (FRH) did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The ITA also announced that it is intending to prosecute Rattikan (Siripuch) Gulnoi of Thailand, a bronze medallist at London 2012, for “use of prohibited substance throughout her career”.

Gulnoi was recorded by an undercover team by Germany broadcaster ARD for their documentary which exposed widespread doping and corruption in weightlifting last year.

Olympics news website “insidethegames” reported that Gulnoi revealed in the interview that girls as young as 13 were encouraged to use banned substances in Thailand.

Gulnoi had joked that she was “the only Thai weightlifter who never tested positive”.

The ITA carries out all anti-doping procedures for the IWF and the deal was recently extended until 2024.

In a statement, the ITA said it was investigating 146 files after revelations in the McLaren report into weightlifting corruption.