Sports bodies to act once IOC confirms failed tests

PARIS • Olympic chiefs say they are "working hard" to clear a backlog of doping cases before the Rio Games start in six weeks' time, even as Russian weightlifters face a fresh ban threat.

It comes days after athletics' world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, upheld its ban on Russian track and field athletes from all competitions including Rio, the latest chapters in a roiling doping controversy that threatens to cast a dark shadow over the Games.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the sport's global governing body, has banned Bulgaria from Rio for doping.

The IWF executive announced this month that 20 suspicious cases had been found in retests of samples from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

It decided at a meeting on Wednesday that countries with three or more failed tests among the suspicious cases would be banned for a year.

It named Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as the countries facing suspension from the Aug 5-21 Rio Games. North Korea was among several other nations facing sanctions over the use of banned substances, as the sport seeks to clean up its image.

A final decision will be taken after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirms whether the second samples from the weightlifters were positive.

The IOC said the IWF had sent a "strong signal" and reiterated that it was up to each international federation (IF) to do deal with its own drug cheats, once it has confirmed a failed test.

"The IOC is working hard to finish all disciplinary proceedings in time before Rio, so that the IFs could potentially do their sanctions before the Olympic Games," it said in a statement.

The IWF has also ordered sanctions on countries including Romania, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova because of doping cases during the Rio qualification period.

Meanwhile, Kuwait is seeking US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) from the IOC for banning the country from international competitions, state news agency Kuna reported.

The IOC suspended Kuwait in October last year, accusing the government of interference in its national Olympic committee. The ban is unlikely to be lifted before the Rio Games, meaning Kuwaiti athletes would be allowed to compete only under the Olympic flag.

Kuwait's Minister of Information and Youth Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah said late on Wednesday that Kuwait "is taking the International Olympic Committee to the Swiss courts for damages amounting to US$1 billion as a result of the IOC's unjustifiable decision to suspend the Kuwait Olympic Committee", Kuna said.

Kuwait was suspended in 2010 over a similar dispute but was reinstated before the 2012 Games.

The national football federation was also banned by football body Fifa this month over government interference in the running of the Kuwaiti Football Association.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Sports bodies to act once IOC confirms failed tests'. Print Edition | Subscribe