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World body bans Thai weightlifters from Tokyo Olympics

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PHOTO: The Jakarta Post

Thai and Malaysian weightlifters will be barred from the Tokyo Olympic Games, whenever they’re held, over their high numbers of doping cases. The sport’s governing body, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said in a statement that the two countries’ lifters can’t compete at the Tokyo Games, regardless of the change of date.

Previously there had been some hope in Thailand that its lifters might get a chance to compete in a rescheduled Olympics if the local federation could clean up its act.

The 2020 Olympics have been postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, and are currently scheduled to be held from July 23 to Aug 8, 2021.

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

The IWF also imposed a 6.6 million baht fine on the Thailand Amateur Weightlifting Federation (TAWA), which has already voluntarily banned itself from all weightlifting, including the Tokyo Games, because of its recent doping record.

8 Thai lifters, including 2 reigning Olympic champions, tested positive for banned substances at last year’s World Championships. They were caught when the IWF carried out extra tests in Germany, on samples taken last November from “target athletes” and using “the most sophisticated techniques available” at the World Championships in Turkmenistan.

Thailand was also involved in a doping scandal in 2011 when 7 teenage girls were banned after testing positive, 2 of whom are among the 6 new cases.

The IWF suspended TAWA’s membership status for three years, saying the sanction would be reviewed on or after March 2022 if “Tawa can demonstrate it has met pre-defined criteria”.

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

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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