BERLIN (Reuters) - China faces a one-year ban from international weightlifting competitions after three of its athletes were stripped of their 2008 Olympic gold medals on Thursday following re-tests of samples from the Beijing Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had disqualified weightlifting gold medallists Cao Lei (75kg), Chen Xiexia (48 kg) and Liu Chunhong (69kg) from the Beijing Games after they tested positive for prohibited substances.
Lifters from Taiwan, Russia and Kazakhstan could be upgraded to the gold medals, although it is unclear if they too failed doping tests in the re-analysis.
The IOC also disqualified five more athletes from both the Beijing and London 2012 Olympics, including Nadzeya Ostapchuk, of Belarus, third in the women’s shot put competition in Beijing, whose sample was positive for anabolic steroids.
The International Weightlifting Federation said last year that countries with three or more failed drugs tests in the re-tests of Beijing and London would be banned for a year from all international competitions.
The IOC is keeping samples from past Games for up to a decade to conduct re-tests with newer methods and to try and root out any cheats.
Re-tests of doping samples from the Beijing and London Games have so far caught more than 100 doping offenders, with Russia having the most cases.
Weightlifting, athletics, cycling, swimming and wrestling have all been affected by the re-tests.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)