Five nations, including Armenia and Russia, whose doping records have risked weightlifting’s place on the Olympic schedule have been limited to just two athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Games by the sport’s governing body, Reuters reports citing a document.
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) is effectively allowing Armenia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Belarus only two places each at Tokyo 2020 – as the new rules state that any nation with 20 or more doping violations from 2008 to 2020 will have just one man and one woman at the Games.
Countries with 10-19 doping violations over that same period will be limited to two men and two women in Tokyo. At least nine more countries, including Bulgaria, Iran and India, who have won five weightlifting golds at the Commonwealth Games, fall into that category.
There could be further sanctions, including being banned from the Olympics, or more nations penalized if there are further doping violations before the Olympic qualifying period ends in April 2020, the IWF said.
The crackdown will benefit countries with less than 10 violations from 2008-2020 as they can send up to eight qualifiers each, split equally between men and women.
Collectively Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Armenia have had more than 130 doping violations since 2008, with several cases still outstanding according to the IWF’s website.
All five are among the nine nations serving a one-year suspension until October for multiple retest positives.
Of the four others Ukraine, Moldova and Turkey are in the 10-19 bracket while China is currently safe on seven.