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Three weightlifters lose 2008 gold medals

By ZHENG JINRAN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-14 07:44

The Chinese Olympic Committee condemned on Friday the doping practice of three Chinese weightlifting gold medalists at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and said China respected the decisions of the International Olympic Committee to strip them of their medals.

Eight athletes were disqualified from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games following a retest of their samples, and three of them were Chinese women's weightlifting gold medalists, according to an IOC statement released on Thursday.

Cao Lei, the 75-kg gold medalist, Liu Chunhong, the 69-kg gold medalist, and Chen Xiexia, the 48-kg gold medalist, were stripped of their 2008 titles after testing positive for prohibited substances. The IOC decision took effect immediately on Thursday.

The Chinese Olympic Committee promised on Friday to conduct further investigations into the case and punish anyone involved in the violations.

"China has made clean competition and fighting against doping a top priority," the committee said in a statement. "China has been taking strict measures to guarantee clean sports and holds a zero-tolerance attitude toward doping."

The Chinese Weightlifting Association also said that the case shows the severity and complexity of rooting out doping, but the association will take it as a chance to improve its work and redouble its efforts against drug use.

In recent years, the IOC has taken special measures to protect clean athletes, such as retesting samples from past Games with new methods to uncover any cheats.

Retesting also covered other sports like athletics, cycling, swimming and wrestling.

The disqualification of the three Chinese weightlifters may result in a one-year ban for Chinese athletes in all international weightlifting competitions, like the Asian Championships in April.

The International Weightlifting Federation said last year that countries with three or more failed drugs tests in the retests of the Beijing and London Games can be banned for a year from all international competitions. The federation will decide whether Chinese weightlifters will now be banned.

The IOC also disqualified five other athletes from the Beijing and London Olympics, including Nadzeya Ostapchuk, of Belarus, third in the women's shot put in Beijing, whose sample showed positive for anabolic steroids.

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