Weightlifters from Belarus and Kazakhstan might also be forced to sit out the Summer Olympics in Rio

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
June 23, 2016 11:25 AM
Kyodo/AP

Just one week after Russia’s track and field team was barred from competing in the Rio Olympics in August, the country’s weightlifting hopefuls might also have to sit out the 2016 Games due to doping concerns.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the sport’s governing body, announced Wednesday that athletes from Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan should be barred from the elite competition after repeatedly failing doping tests.

“Only clean athletes should be able to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” the IWF said in a statement, and stressed its “zero tolerance” policy toward dopers.

The IWF also recommends taking Olympic spots away from other countries that have faced doping violations, including Azerbaijan, North Korea and Moldova.

However, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan could face complete team bans because “the IWF Executive Board has decided that national federations confirmed to have produced three or more anti-doping rule violations in the combined re-analysis process of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games shall be suspended for one year.”

The ban must be ratified by the International Olympic Committee, the BBC reports.

The news is another blow to Russia’s hopes for Olympic gold after its entire track and field team was barred from the Games last week in an unprecedented decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body for track and field.

Reports by the World Anti-Doping Agency and news organizations detailed a state-run doping scheme that accused authorities of helping athletes secretly swap out tainted urine, destroying thousands of potentially incriminating samples and threatening drug testers, according to The New York Times.

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee said it agreed with the IAAF’s decision to ban the track and field athletes, but said it would potentially let some individuals compete if they receive an exemption from the IAAF.

However, the IAAF said it will not accept any appeals from individual athletes, which means the only way an athlete could fight for a chance to compete would be through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), reports The Washington Post.

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