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Weightlifters From Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia Hit After Doping Tests

Uzbekistan's Ruslan Nurudinov is among five weightlifters who received provisional suspensions after 2012 doping results were retested.

Five weightlifters from former Soviet states, including two former Olympic champions, have been provisionally suspended after retests of their samples from the 2012 London Olympics came back positive for doping, the sports’ governing body says.

International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on December 23 identified the two former gold medal winners as Ukraine’s Oleksiy Torokhtiy and Uzbekistan's Ruslan Nurudinov.

The IWF also said that Azerbaijan's Bulgaria-born Valentin Hristov, Armenia's Melanie Daluzian, and Belarus's Mikalai Novikau received suspensions.

Torokhtiy and Hristov could lose their 2012 Olympic medals in view of the findings. Torokhtiy won in the 105-kg category in London, while Hristov took the bronze medal in the 56-kg category.

"The International Olympic Committee is responsible to decide about any consequences relating to the athletes’ participation in the 2012 London Olympic Games," the IWF said.

"In all cases where it is determined that an Antidoping Rule Violation was committed, the responsibility to conduct results management will be transferred to the IWF in terms of consequences extending beyond the athletes’ Olympic Games participation."

Nurudinov won the Olympic title in Rio in 2016 as well as the world title in Poland in 2013 and the gold medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018.

In April, new antidoping regulations were put in place by the IWF, which said it “continues to implement robust antidoping reforms to protect clean athletes by improving its systems in place.”

Weightlifting as an Olympic sport remains on probation after findings of widespread doping offenses. IOC has threatened to remove it from the Paris Games in 2024 if it fails to improve its record.

The sport was featured at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP