The Olympic doping chronicles continue, and this time, the fallout has shifted the odds were in favor of weightlifters from Qatar, Morocco, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.
Due to doping violations, the International Weightlifting Federation decided to withdraw quota places for Rio 2016 Olympics from Romania, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, North Korea and Russia.
The IWF redistributed the spots in a way that maintains the balance between continents, based on ranking, universality and representation of countries. The reallocation of the 2016 Olympic berths yielded an extra weightlifting spot for each of the four Arab nations.
Qatar was granted a second Olympic ticket to the men’s 2016 Olympic weightlifting competition, while Morocco, Iraq and the UAE each received a spot in the women’s event. The identities of the athletes who will benefit from these quota places have not been decided yet.
This opportunity gives the countries' best female weightlifters the chance to compete at the Olympics. If they choose to use their allotted quota, Iraq and Morocco will send their first females to ever take part in an Olympic weightlifting competition.
While the UAE and Morocco have not won any Olympic medals for weightlifting yet, Iraq and Qatar each have a weightlifting Olympic bronze to their credit.
The IWF Executive Board declared that it will form a committee to investigate countries with multiple Anti-Doping Rule violations. It will also modify its policies to legalize banning federations that include the most significant number of violations during an Olympic period, such as Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, who might face suspension from Rio 2016.
Additionally, athletes with positive doping retests from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics will be banned from competing in Rio if they are disqualified by the International Olympic Committee. Therefore, more quota places are expected to be redistributed.
“The IWF Executive Board is determined to continue with the application of its strict system of sanctions and elaborating further sport specific rules in order to protect the clean athletes and the integrity of the sport of weightlifting,” the IWF said in a statement, following its meeting in Georgia last week.