Olympics roundup: Russian medalists fail 2012 tests

Associated Press

Budapest, Hungary — Eleven weightlifters, including three Russian medalists, have tested positive for banned drugs in the latest retests of samples from the 2012 London Olympics, the International Weightlifting Federation said Wednesday.

The IWF said in a statement that all 11 athletes, six of whom were medalists, had been provisionally suspended until their cases are closed.

Four of the 11 are Russians, who all tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid.

The positive Russian tests came from Alexandr Ivanov, silver medalist in the men’s 94-kilogram division; Nataliya Zabolotnaya, silver in the women’s 75-kilogram division; Svetlana Tzarukaeva, silver in the women’s 63-kilogram division; and Andrey Demanov, who placed fourth in the men’s 94-kilogram division. Ivanov also tested positive for tamoxifen, a hormone modulator.

The three other medal winners in the group were Hripsime Khurshudyan, Armenia (bronze, over-75-kilogram division), Iryna Kulesha, Belarus (bronze, 75-kilogram division) and Cristina Iovu of Moldova (bronze, 53-kilogram division).

Also testing positive were Turkey’s Sibel Simsek, Almas Uteshov of Kazakhstan, Georgia’s Rauli Tsirekidze and Intigam Zairov of Azerbaijan.

Bulgarian weightlifters have been banned from the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Games because of the large number of positive doping tests, while Russian weightlifters also risk being barred from the Olympics.

On Monday, the IWF said it had requested “further clarification” from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency before its decision on which Russian athletes can be cleared to compete in Rio.

After consultations on Sunday, the IOC stopped short of a blanket ban on Russian athletes at the Rio Games, following a WADA report that accused Russia of widespread doping and cover-up. Instead, Olympic selection was left to individual sporting federations, provided the athletes met certain criteria — which included a clean record in anti-doping tests.

The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years, allowing them to be reopened and reanalyzed when improved testing methods become available.

So far, 31 of the 98 doping positives discovered in the retests of samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Olympics were weightlifters.

Putin defends Russians

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russian track and field athletes are victims of “discrimination” that the country is “not going to put up with.”

Putin was addressing athletes at the Kremlin before the Russian Olympic team was due to fly to Rio de Janeiro, while dozens of the track and field athletes who are not eligible to compete in the Rio Games also attended.

Those barred from competing, Putin says, are victims of “double standards” and a campaign against Russian sports.

Two-time Olympic champion pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and European hurdles champion Sergei Shubenkov were among those in attendance not eligible for Rio.

Continuing his address, Putin told his audience “your colleagues from other sports powers realize that the value of their medals will be different,” because “this victory will have a different taste - or no taste at all.”

Aussies move in

A near-diplomatic incident — as Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes termed it — came to an end.

The Australian delegation gave the mayor a tiny “boxing kangaroo” doll, and now says it’s happy with its rooms at Rio’s Olympic Athletes Village.

The 700-member delegation refused to check in three days earlier because of water and gas leaks, electrical shorts, malfunctioning toilets and general filth.

In a meeting at the village, Paes apologized and acknowledged Australia’s “was the worst building.”

He gave delegation head Kitty Chiller the keys to the city, and a doll representing the official mascot Vinicius.

Paes says the building “was not in good shape, and that was a mistake of the organization. But they’ve got their building now.”