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Thailand’s Weightlifting Team Banned from Olympics for Doping

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Eight Thai lifters, including two Olympic champions, tested positive for banned substances at last year’s World Championships.

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Thailand's Weightlifting Team Banned from Tokyo Olympics

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has confirmed an Olympic doping ban on weightlifters from Thailand and Malaysia. The doping ban will apply no matter when Tokyo Games are held.

The IWF said in a statement that the two countries’ weightlifters would not compete at the Tokyo Games. Regardless of the change of date for the Tokyo Olympics..

There had been some hope that Thailand weightlifters might get a chance to compete in a rescheduled Olympics. They hoped that if the local federation could clean up its act the IWF would reconsider their stance.

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. They are now scheduled to be held from July 23 to Aug 8, 2021.

Furthermore both the Thai and Malaysian federations can appeal the IWF ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days.

Fine and Ban from Tokyo Olympics

The IWF also imposed a US$200,000 fine on the Thailand Amateur Weightlifting Federation (Tawa). Which had already voluntarily banned itself from all weightlifting, including the Tokyo Games, because of its recent doping record.

“Half of it is imposed as a penalty, the remainder shall be used by IWF to offset IWF costs already incurred. Above all in connection with the Tawa matter and for additional IWF testing of Tawa athletes,” the IWF said.

Eight Thai lifters, including two Olympic champions, tested positive for banned substances at last year’s World Championships.

The Thais were caught when the IWF carried out extra tests in Cologne, Germany. Samples were taken last November from “target athletes” at the World Championships in Turkmenistan.

The country was also involved in a doping scandal in 2011. Seven teenage girls were banned after testing positive, two of whom are among the new cases.

Youth Weightlifters doping unmasked

The IWF suspended Tawa’s membership status for three years. It said the sanction would be reviewed on or after March 7, 2022. If the “Tawa can demonstrate it has met the per-defined criteria”.

In January the entire Tawa board resigned less than a month after allegations of doping by youth weightlifters were made in a German TV documentary.

The Tawa now has a new boss, Prachya Keeratinan, who was elected as president in March. Thus following the resignation of Boossaba Yodbangtoey to “shoulder responsibility” for the doping allegations.

The Malaysian Weightlifting Federation has been suspended for one year. The sanction will be reviewed and may be lifted as early as Oct 1, the IWF said.