Russian weightlifters will not be allowed to compete at the Olympics after the International Weightlifting Federation elected to ban them from the upcoming Games.
Having already had two quota places removed for previous doping violations, the IWF ruled that the remaining eight Russians would also not be allowed to compete in Rio following the reanalysis of samples from the Beijing and London Games.
Aside from athletics, where all bar Florida-based Darya Klishina have been banned from competing at Rio, weightlifting is the only other sport to exclude all Russians after each individual governing body was asked to make a call on a sport-by-sport basis.
“The integrity of the weightlifting sport has been seriously damaged on multiple times and levels by the Russians, therefore an appropriate sanction was applied in order to preserve the status of the sport,” said an IWF statement.
The decision has been made less than 10 days before the weightlifting commences in Rio and the IWF insist they adopted their strong stance following a series of suspicious test results which emerged from the previous two Games.
We would like to highlight the extremely shocking and disappointing statistics regarding the Russian weightlifters,” they said.
“As of today there are seven confirmed AAFs (adverse analytical findings) for Russian weightlifters from the combined reanalysis process of London and Beijing, while the second wave of Beijing reanalysis is not yet in a stage when the names and countries involved can be publicly disclosed.”
Team GB will have two weightlifters in Rio, 17-year-old Rebekah Tiler and Sonny Webster, and the latter insisted on Friday that anyone who has tested positive in the past should not be allowed to compete at the Olympics.
Speaking just hours before the IWF’s decision was announced, he said: “My personal opinion is if anyone has served a drug ban in any sport, they shouldn’t have the right to be able to compete in the greatest show on earth.
“It’s a real privilege to be able to call yourself an Olympian and represent your country. They shouldn’t be allowed. The sport in total is getting cleaner, they’re catching people and in 10 years’ time hopefully we’ll have a clean, level playing field.
“I’ve won medals because people have been banned and I know some people after the recent tests have been moved from fourth to gold. I feel sorry for those people that haven’t had that chance to hear their national anthem and be on that podium where they belong, deserve to be.
“I just hope the sport will clean up and people will be able to enjoy that moment they deserve because it’s a lot of hard work.”