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Rio Olympics: Doubts are cast on weightlifting as medallist fails doping test

By Robert Jones

Published 19/08/2016

Forfeit: Izzat Artykov has lost his bronze after he failed a doping test
Forfeit: Izzat Artykov has lost his bronze after he failed a doping test

The first medal to change hands at the Rio Games for doping has placed further doubt on weightlifting's credibility as an Olympic sport.

Kyrgyzstan's Izzat Artykov tested positive for the stimulant strychnine, which is toxic in high doses, and the 22-year-old has lost his bronze medal in the 69kg category.

His medal will go to Colombia's Luis Javier Mosquera instead but it is the International Weightlifting Federation that has the biggest problems.

The entire Bulgarian team were banned for widespread doping at last year's European Championships and Russia's team were prevented from competing in Rio after their state-run doping programme.

Belarus and Kazakhstan are set to be given one-year bans for the number of athletes caught in the re-testing of samples from the last two Olympics, with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Turkey likely to join them.

The entire Olympic programme is reviewed after a Games and the IWF is now facing a huge battle to convince the IOC that it has got a handle on doping. If it cannot, a sport that has been an ever-present since 1920 could be thrown out.

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