Thailand bars weightlifters from Olympics after doping tests


Bangkok (AFP)

Thailand is barring its weightlifters from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and all other international competitions, the association overseeing the sport said Friday, after several athletes tested positive for doping.

The International Weightlifting Federation has vowed to clean up a sport that has grappled with rampant steroid use.

The eight Thai cases date to last year's championships in Turkmenistan and were detected in follow-up analysis after initial rounds of tests.

In response the Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association said it was launching an investigation and "will not send athletes to compete at the international level" until the situation is resolved.

That includes the Tokyo Games and qualifying rounds, the association added, citing the importance of protecting its "honour and dignity".

It did not name those targeted in the probe.

Thailand will however hold on to its role as host of the 2019 IWF world championships in September. No Thai athletes will take part.

The IWF president vowed last year to beat the doping scourge tainting the sport, but the task is daunting.

A raft of Olympic champions were stripped of medals and records following re-analysis of samples from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games.

Nine countries, including Asian powerhouse China, were suspended as a result.

As a result tough new measures have been introduced to punish serial doping offenders and limit their ability to take part in the Olympics.