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Russia, Iran among nations to lose Olympic weightlifting spots for doping

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Russia and Iran are among several nations who will lose places in the next Olympic weightlifting competition because of years of doping.

The International Weightlifting Federation published new rules which limit countries to one male and one female entry at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if they have had more than 20 doping cases in the sport since July 2008.

That applies to Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus, all major weightlifting powers. The IWF could still decide to ban them entirely if more cases emerge, IWF spokeswoman Lilla Rozgonyi said.

India and Iran fall into a second category of nations with between 10 and 20 confirmed doping cases in that period. Those countries can enter a maximum of two men and two women.

Other countries can enter up to four men and four women for the 2020 Games.

Weightlifting’s Olympic place came under threat after retesting of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games revealed 49 doping cases. In one event from 2012, six of the top seven finishers were disqualified.

After those cases emerged, the International Olympic Committee reduced the size of the weightlifting competition for the 2020 Olympics. The new rules are a way of ensuring the countries most to blame for weightlifting’s predicament pay the heaviest price.

The new code of rules was “approved by the IOC and follows the logic that the IOC quota reduction … was a ‘consequence’ of the retests from 2008 and 2012,” Rozgonyi said.

The new rules also force athletes to compete in at least six major events in the 18-month Olympic qualifying period. In the past, some lifters have barely competed ahead of the Olympics, leading to suspicions they were avoiding doping tests.

Russia was banned entirely from weightlifting at the 2016 Olympics after the IWF ruled its team’s persistent steroid use had tarnished the sport’s image. Nine countries, including Russia and China, were barred from last year’s world championships because of doping.

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Olympic champion to auction gold medal for Iran earthquake victims

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Iran weightlifter Kianoush Rostami will reportedly auction his Rio Olympic gold medal and give the money raised to victims of Sunday’s earthquake near Iran’s border with Iraq.

“My gold medal belongs to my people, and I just hand it back to them,” Rostami said, according to the Tehran Times. “I didn’t sleep in the previous nights due to a sorrowful event.”

An Instagram post on a Rostami account with 129,000 followers outlined how to bid.

Rostami, 26, broke the world record for total weight in taking 85kg (187 pounds) gold in Rio — eclipsing his own record by one kilogram with 396kg (or 873 pounds) for the snatch and clean and jerk combined.

Rostami was one of the three Iranian gold medalists in Rio. He also took 85kg silver at the 2012 London Games and won world titles in 2011 and 2014.

A devoutly religious man, Rostami practices the same routine before every lift: He stands over the bar, lifts his head, takes a prolonged deep breath and says, declaratively, in Arabic, “In the name of God.”

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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کیانوش رستمی مدال طلای المپیک خود را جهت کمک به زلزله زدگان غرب کشور به حراج می گذارد کیانوش رستمی قهرمان وزنه برداری المپیک و جهان جهت کمک به زلزله زدگان غرب کشور، مدال طلای بازیهای المپیک ریو 2016 خود را به حراج می گذارد. پهلوان کرمانشاهی کشورمان در متن پیام خود در این باره گفت: کرمانشانَگم، اي شار شيرين نفس کم ديرم، اَراي زار و شين همدياريم، ها ژِير آوار کم بتکن خاک، وَه‌ اي کُردَوار بار دیگر دل زمین لرزید تا دل میلیوها ایرانی در غم از دست دادن عزیزانشان بلرزد،دلیرمردان و شیر زنانی که همواره در دل تاریخ بعنوان پاره ای از تن ایران بزرگ در خط مقدم دفاع از کشورشان بودند و هستند و امروز این دریادلان اینگونه در ساحل مصیبت زده طوفان بلا،دست به آسمان ساییده اند و چشم انتظار یاری مردم عزیز خود هستند. اینجانب کیانوش رستمی فرزند کوچک این ملت بزرگ که هنوز در این چند روز خواب به چشمانم نیامده بر خود وظیفه دانستم قدمی هر چند کوچک برای هموطنان زلزله زده کشورم پرداخته و مدال طلای بازیهای المپیک 2016 ریو را که در واقع متعلق به همین مردم است به آنها باز گردانده و برای کمک به مردم زلزله زده غرب کشور به حراج بگذارم و عواید حاصل از آن را به زلزله زدگان غرب کشور اختصاص دهم. علاقه مندان که می خواهند در این امر خیر شرکت کنند می توانند پیشنهاد و درخواستهای خود را به شماره تلفن های زیر 26203390-26203418 و همراه 09192787890 و یا آدرس ایمیل olympic.iran@yahoo.com در میان بگذارند.

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Women to run apart from men in Tehran’s first marathon

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Two days before what has been described as Tehran’s first international marathon, a top Iranian sports official cannot confirm whether Americans will participate and says women will be forced to run separately from men.

The website for Friday’s “TehRUN” race lists 28 Americans among the registered runners, along with participants from more than 40 countries, including Britain and Canada. It describes the run as an opportunity for “building bridges, breaking barriers.”

Majid Keyhani, the head of Iran’s track and field federation, told reporters Wednesday that runners of all nationalities are welcome to participate in the event. But he would not confirm which countries would be represented or if visas had been issued to all participants.

“We have sent all runner names to Iran’s Foreign Ministry for issuing visas,” he said, cautioning that the process could “take time.”

At least 160 foreign runners, including 50 women, have signed up. But Keyhani said only the men will be allowed to race in the streets of Tehran — the women will have to race separately, inside the Azadi sports complex.

More than 600 Iranian runners, including 156 women, are expected to participate.

The race is being organized in large part by Dutch entrepreneur Sebastiaan Straten and his travel agency, Iran Silk Road. He expects Americans to be able to participate and said most of the registered runners have received visas.

“TehRUN is a run for international friendship and to promote street running to a large, young Iranian population,” he said by email. “Iranians are one of the most hospitable people in the world and I am sure the crowd will show that on Friday to the runners.”

Still, he opposes the decision to segregate women from men for the race.

“Personally I do not agree with that and we are trying to find other ways to make step(s forward) for female running in Iran,” he wrote.

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has required women to wear the Islamic headscarf and to only show their face, hands and feet in public. They are typically not allowed to participate in sporting events outside of enclosed facilities, ensuring they are not seen by men.

The race website tells women they are required to wear a headscarf or sports bandana that covers their hair. It also encourages them to wear long-sleeve t-shirts that cover their hips and to avoid shorts or skirts.

“In general dress modestly to respect local customs and religion,” it reads.

Any spectators cheering the female runners Friday will certainly be women. Female Iranian athletes have missed many international competitions since the revolution because clerical authorities disapprove of them being viewed by male spectators.

Female sports fans in turn are traditionally barred from attending male-only sporting events in Iran on similar grounds, but many women are pushing to change that practice.

Keyhani made a point of referring to the event as a “Persian Run” rather than a marathon, even though the length of the longest race is 42 kilometers (26 miles) — roughly the length of an official marathon.

The course takes runners from the Azadi soccer stadium through the normally traffic-clogged streets of western parts of the Iranian capital, past the University of Tehran to Ferdowsi Square, a popular spot for the city’s moneychangers.

There are also shorter men’s courses of 10 and 21 kilometers (6 and 13 miles).

No professional runners are expected to participate this year, Keyhani said, but he expressed hope they would in the future.

The event follows a similar run a year ago near the Iranian city of Shiraz, south of Tehran. That race drew more than 70 international participants, none of them American.

No women were allowed to officially take part in last year’s race. But two Iranian women, Masoumeh Torabi and Elham Manoocheri, nonetheless ran the race separately from the men in protest and are recognized on the race organizers’ website.

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