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11 weightlifters suspended for positive London 2012 retests

The International Weightlifting Federation says 11 more weightlifters, including six medallists and four Russians, have tested positive in retests of samples from the 2012 London Olympics.

Medal winners, 4 Russians included in ban

Russian silver-medallist Alexandr Ivanov was one of the 11 athletes suspended for positive retests from the 2012 London Olympics. (Janek Skarzynski/Getty Images)

By Pablo Gorondi, The Associated Press

Eleven weightlifters, including three Russian medallists, have tested positive for banned drugs in the latest retests of samples from the 2012 London Olympics, the International Weightlifting Federation said Wednesday.

The IWF said in a statement that all 11 athletes, six of whom were medallists, had been provisionally suspended until their cases are closed.

The following athletes have been implicated:

  • Intigam Zairov, Azerbaijan
  • Nataliya Zabolotnaya, Russia (silver medal-winner in 2004 and 2012)
  • Rauli Tsirekidze, Georgia
  • Almas Uteshov, Kazakhstan
  • Svetlana Tsarukaeva, Russia (silver medal-winner in 2012)
  • Sibel Simsek, Turkey 
  • Iryna Kulesha, Belarus (bronze medal-winner in 2012)
  • Hripsime Khurshudyan, Armenia (bronze medal-winner in 2012)
  • Alexandr Ivanov, Russia (silver medal-winner in 2012)
  • Cristina Iovu, Moldova (bronze medal-winner in 2012)
  • Andrey Demanov, Russia 

The four Russians listed all tested positive for the anabolic steroid dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, while Alexandr Ivanov also tested positive for the hormone modulator tamoxifen.

Bulgarian weightlifters have been banned from the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Games because of the large number of positive doping tests, while Russian weightlifters also risk being barred from the Olympics.

On Monday, the IWF said it had requested "further clarification" from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency before its decision on which Russian athletes can be cleared to compete in Rio.

After consultations on Sunday, the IOC stopped short of a blanket ban on Russian athletes at the Rio Games, following a WADA report that accused Russia of widespread doping and cover-up. Instead, Olympic selection was left to individual sporting federations, provided the athletes met certain criteria — which included a clean record in anti-doping tests.

The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years, allowing them to be reopened and reanalyzed when improved testing methods become available. So far, 31 of the 98 doping positives discovered in the retests of samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Olympics were weightlifters.

So far, weightlifters have produced a total of 31 positives in doping retests carried out on samples taken at the 2008 Games in Beijing and the London Games.

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