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16th-Aug-2018

Tarnished weightlifting fights for Olympic survival at Asian Games

By Agency



Doping-ravaged weightlifting begins its Asian Games competition on Monday without a banned traditional powerhouse and with the sport's boss warning it would "slowly disappear" if it were to lose its Olympic status.
No fewer than 12 world records were broken at an explosive 2014 Asiad in Incheon but now the sport needs to prove it can comply with world anti-doping standards to lift the threat of Olympic expulsion.
China dominated four years ago with seven golds, five silvers and two bronzes, but none of their lifters will be in Jakarta.
They are among nine nations currently serving a 12-month International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) ban after their reanalysed drugs tests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics returned at least three positives.
Kazakhstan, who were prominent with one gold and three silvers in 2014, are another of the nine banned, while Malaysia have pulled their team because of their own poor doping record.
North Korea have seen three of their four gold-medal winners from Incheon 2014 subsequently banned for failed drugs tests, but remain favourites to top the medal count in China's absence.
Weightlifting is assured of its place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games but the drugs-tarnished sport is attempting a cultural change to prevent it being dropped from the programme for Paris 2024.
IWF president Tamas Ajan issued a stern warning last month that the sport would fall off the map if it were to lose its Olympic status.
The IWF delivered a report in June detailing how it had met anti-doping requirements demanded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
However, the IOC decided to leave to sport on probation until after the Asian Games and November's World Championships.
"I have a question: what will happen with weightlifting if it is not on the (Olympic) programme?" the Romanian-born Hungarian Ajan asked delegates at the IWF congress in Tashkent last month.