Vietnamese weightlifters may not be allowed to participate in the Tokyo Olympics because four athletes have been punished by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for doping.
According to Đỗ Đình Kháng, general secretary of Việt Nam Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Federation, under the rules of the IWF, any country with three or more doping violations during the Olympics qualifiers, which began in November 2018, may face a ban from competing at the event.
"Vietnamese weightlifters in the past two years have had four athletes test positive for banned substances, so we still have to wait for the IWF official document to see if Vietnamese weightlifters can attend the Tokyo Olympics,” said Kháng.
At present, Việt Nam have two weightlifters Thạch Kim Tuấn (ranking fifth in the Olympics qualifier in the men’s 61kg) and Hoàng Thị Duyên (ranking seventh in the Olympics qualifying round in the women’s 59kg), while Nguyễn Thị Thu Trang has already technically qualified for Tokyo.
Earlier, the IWF announced that Trang, 17, and Bùi Đình Sáng, 18, who compete in the 45kg female and 61kg male weightlifting categories, respectively, tested positive for doping. Specifically, both of them tested positive for oxandrolone, an anabolic steroid that promotes the growth of muscle tissue.
Weightlifter Nguyễn Thị Thu Trang (middle) seen in the World Youth Weightlifting Championship in the US last year. Photo vov.vn
Trang won gold medals in World Youth Weightlifting Championship in the US last year in the women’s 45kg event in snatch, clean and jerk, and total lift, while Sáng also took gold medal in the same tournament in the men’s 61kg division snatch.
Trang and Sáng will be suspended for four years, starting from January 2020.
According to Kháng, these young weightlifters were tested by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) during their training in Hà Nội when they were not preparing for any competition.
“The WADA often takes incidental samples at a time when the athletes don’t prepare for any important international tournament. During the training process, athletes with deceitful intentions will use doping to increase muscle strength and limit injury,” said Kháng.
This is not the first time that Vietnamese weightlifters have received a heavy punishment from the IWF.
Just last year, Trịnh Văn Vinh and Nguyễn Thị Phương Thanh were also banned for four years because of doping. They were also fined US$5,000 each for violation.
Two other countries involved in doping charges, Thailand and Egypt, have been banned from the 2021 Olympics.