BERLIN • 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.
The trio, all aged between 31 and 34, tested positive for the banned human growth hormone, GHRP-2.
The IOC also disqualified five more athletes from both the Beijing and London 2012 Olympics, including Nadzeya Ostapchuk, of Belarus, bronze medallist in the 2008 women's shot put, for anabolic steroids.
The International Weightlifting Federation said last year that countries with three or more failed drug tests in the re-tests of Beijing and London would be banned for a year from all international competitions.
That would mean China potentially missing out this year on the Asian Championships in April and the World Championships in November.
The IOC is keeping a total of 1,243 samples from past Games for up to a decade to conduct re-tests with newer methods in order 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 accounts for the bulk of positive tests, followed by athletics, wrestling and cycling.
The results of the new tests will feature in April during discussions to map out the programme of future summer Olympics.
"We will have to look at the results in detail, connect each sport with each country and see if it is a problem specific to each country," said IOC president Thomas Bach.
"And then we will study the situation with the World Anti-Doping Agency."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE