Three Chinese weightlifters stripped of Olympic medals

After an analysis of urine samples from the Beijing Olympics (2008) and the London Olympics (2012), the International Olympic Committee has released a list of eight athletes - including three Chinese weightlifters - who have been disqualified from the Games in which they participated.

The re-analysis of urine samples were in the wake of the Russian doping scandal that caused controversy in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics.   -  AP

Three Chinese women weightlifters have been stripped of Olympic titles for doping at their home 2008 Beijing Games.

China faces a one-year ban from international weightlifting which should be triggered for having three Olympic doping disqualifications in a re-testing program by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which announced the verdicts on Thursday.

The IOC also took a Beijing bronze medal in women’s shot put from Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus on Thursday. Ostapchuk previously lost her gold medal and Olympic title from the 2012 London Games in a separate doping case.

The four medallists were among eight new disqualifications announced in the latest round of an extensive program to re-analyse samples stored since the Beijing and London Olympics. The IOC said all three Chinese weightlifters tested positive for GHRP-2, which stimulates production of growth hormone.

They were- Cao Lei in the 75-kilogram class; Chen Xiexia at 48kg; and Liu Chunhonog at 69kg. Liu also tested positive for sibutramine, a banned stimulant.

The one-year expulsion for China should be imposed by the International Weightlifting Federation. The governing body based in Budapest, Hungary, promised automatic bans if a nation had three athletes test positive in the IOC’s Beijing and London re-tests. The IWF previously announced the Chinese cases in August.

Doping cases are re-writing the original results from weightlifting in Beijing. Medallists in each of the three women’s weight classes won by the Chinese have already been disqualified and stripped of their results by the IOC in recent weeks.

Currently, lifters from Taiwan, Russia and Kazakhstan could be upgraded to the gold medal, though it is unclear if they also tested positive for doping in the re-analysis.

The IOC recorded more than 100 positive tests across numerous sports from the Beijing and London retesting program, and more cases are expected.

Following are the athletes disqualified as mentioned by the IOC:

Beijing Games (2008)

1. Lei Cao (China)

2. Xiexia Chen (China)

3. Chunhong Liu (China)

4. Nadzeya Ostapchuk (Belarus)

5. Darya Pchelnik (Belarus)

London Games (2012)

1. Sibel Simsek (Turkey)

2. Intigam Sairov (Azerbaijan)

3. Norayr Vardanyan (Armenia)

“The additional analyses on samples collected during the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and London 2012 were performed with improved analytical methods, in order to possibly detect prohibited substances that could not be identified by the analysis performed at the time of these editions of the Olympic Games,” the release stated.