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April 04, 2022
Kazakhstan continues to have doping issues as six lifters have tested positive for banned substances. Kazakhstan carried out the testing through their National Anti-Doping Center during a three-week period from February 9-March 2, 2022. Two current world champions and Tokyo Games Bronze medalist Igor Son are among the athletes caught doping.
The story was first reported by Insidethegames.biz that the Kazakhstani National Anti-Doping Center (WFRK) was proactive in conducting off-season doping tests. This was a good idea to avoid further doping bans in international competitions. If the International Weightlifting Federation had caught the athletes through testing with the International Testing Agency (ITA), then these Kazakhstani weightlifters would’ve been hit with harsher penalties and bans.
Kazakhstan is attempting to clean up the sport in the country as they’ve been at the center of many doping scandals. The country has lost six Olympic gold medals in weightlifting due to doping violations at the 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games, and the 2016 Rio Games.
As a result of all the doping offenses, Kazakhstan was only allowed two places to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Games. Those two spots were filled by Igor Son and Zulfiya Chinshanlo.
Chinshanlo had been one of the athletes who had to forfeit a previous gold medal because of doping. Son had also been caught doping before and lost his gold medal from the 2015 IWF Youth World Championships. This is Son’s second offense which will play a part in his penalty.
The other Kazakhstani weightlifters who were caught include 19-year-old Ablay Auyelkhanov and 17-year-old Rufina Chalkarova; both were world champions. Chalkarova won the super-heavyweight title by a whopping 28kg at the 2021 IWF Youth World Championships. Auyelkhanov won the 55kg weight class title at the IWF Junior World Championships when he bested the competition by 15kg!
Another former medal winner wrapped up in the doping offenses includes Alexey Drozdov, who won a silver medal at the IWF Junior World Championships in the 61kg weight class. The last two athletes of the six guilty; are Julia Potasova and Matvey Makrushin.
Just a few weeks ago, Nijat Rahimov was handed down an 8-year ban and stripped of his 2016 Rio Games gold medal in the 77 kg weight class because he was caught sample-swapping.
The 2016 Olympic Games have proven to be somewhat of a shame, with multiple athletes getting busted for doping. In addition, just last month, 6 Russians were charged with doping offenses, including the popular lifter, Dmitry Klokov.
These latest doping offenses are a bad look for the sport of Olympic weightlifting and even worse for Kazakhstan. On the upside, it was nice to see the country being proactive about testing athletes before being compelled by international federations. We hope this sends a message to others to take the initiative and try to catch the cheaters sooner than later.
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