(ATR) The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) says, "Bulgaria is not eligible to participate in the upcoming Olympic Games" following positive doping tests during the qualification period for the Games.
Additionally, one Olympic quota berth was taken from Romania for multiple doping infractions throughout the year.
The executive board of the IWF announced the decisions on Thursday at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on the eve of the world championships in Houston, Texas.
The IWF says 11 Bulgarian weightlifters tested positive for banned substances at a training camp preceding the European championships, causing the athletes to drop out of the event.
Eight males and three females tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. The athletes were suspended for nine months.
The suspension resulted in Bulgaria not being allowed to compete at the world championships currently underway.
The IWF executive board also suspended Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Sierra Leone and Tajikistan from this year’s championships due to athletes failing to submit information to the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System.
The IWF Anti-Doping Commission, chaired by former IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch, provided the executive board with a report detailing statistics of doping tests in 2015. This report fueled the decisions taken by the executive board on Nov. 19.
The suspension of Bulgarian weightlifters from Rio 2016 will likely hurt the country in the overall medal standings for the Games. Bulgaria has earned 36 Olympic golds in weightlifting, second only to its total in wrestling.
Bulgarian weightlifters did not compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and were stripped of three gold medals at the Sydney 2000 Games also because of failed doping tests.
Written by KevinNutley
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