By Brian Oliver
(Reuters) – A weightlifter who finished ninth in the London 2012 Olympics and was sent home from this year’s Rio Games for doping is set to get a medal because a rival, who is already serving an eight-year ban has tested positive retrospectively.
Tomasz Zielinski of Poland finished 22kg behind the top three in London in the 94kg category but because six of the eight lifters ahead of him have been caught out in re-tests he moves up to the bronze medal position.
Zielinski and his brother Adrian, the 2012 champion at 85kg, were sent back to Poland in disgrace before competing in Rio when results of pre-Games tests were announced.
With the top four in the 94kg in London all having been caught in the re-tests, gold will go to the lifter who finished fifth, Iran’s Saeid Mohammadpourkarkaragh.
Those in sixth and seventh places have also tested positive, so when the legal process is completed silver will go to eighth-placed Kim Min-Jae of South Korea and bronze to Zielinski, provided there are no more adverse findings.
Samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games were re-tested by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who could not discount the possibility of further positives.
The first two waves of reanalysis were carried out before and during the Rio Games and there are two more waves to come.
The amended result of the 94kg category from London 2012 will not be officially announced until the retesting and legal process is complete.
“The result management of the reanalysis of the samples of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and London 2012 is still underway and the IOC will continue to communicate on a case by case basis as soon as disciplinary procedures are completed,” said an IOC spokesperson. “We do not have an exact timeline on when these results will be announced.”
Zielinski moved up when the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced on Tuesday a 47th retrospective positive in their sport.
Anatoli Ciricu of Moldova, who was banned for eight years in 2015 after a second doping offence, was in line for the gold medal until the IWF’s announcement. Ciricu, who turned 28 on Wednesday, was also banned for two years in 2007.
His positive means Moldova will join eight other nations in being banned from the sport.
The IWF, whose board meet in Beijing on the last weekend of September to discuss doping and sanctions, announced in June that any nation which had three or more positives in the IOC retests would be banned for a year.
“It does not have to be ratified, the bans are automatic,” Lilla Rozgonyi, IWF head of media, told Reuters.
“As soon as a country has three cases closed by the IOC they will be banned. It could be tomorrow, it could take a month but it is automatic.”
The list of those who will be banned is: Kazakhstan 10 positives, Russia 9, Belarus 7, Azerbaijan 5, Turkey 3, Armenia 3, Ukraine 3, China 3, Moldova 3. Only Georgia, with one infringement, will escape a ban.
(Editing by Toby Davis)