Kazakh weightlifters reportedly refuse to return Olympic medals

AP
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ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Kazakhstan says three medalists are among six of its athletes disqualified from previous Olympics over doping.

The country’s national Olympic committee said in a statement that weightlifters Irina Nekrasova and Maria Grabovetskaya, who won silver and bronze medals respectively at Beijing 2008, and bronze medal-winning wrestler Aset Mambetov, were retroactively disqualified following retests of drug-test samples they gave at those games.

The Kazakhstan Olympic committee said it had received confirmation from the International Olympic Committee that “traces of banned substances were found” in the athletes’ samples.

The International Weightlifting Federation has previously said the Grabovetskaya and Nekrasova cases concerned various anabolic steroids, with Grabovetskaya testing positive for three different banned substances in a single sample. Wrestling authorities have not said what was found in Mambetov’s sample.

Grabovetskaya and Mambetov were quoted in Kazakh media as saying they will refuse to return their medals because they don’t consider themselves guilty of doping.

There are also retrospective disqualifications from the 2008 games for weightlifters Vladimir Sedov and Maiya Maneza, while another weightlifter, Almas Uteshov, has been scratched from the 2012 Olympics.

Kazakhstan has one of the worst records of any country in the retests carried out this year by the IOC, having already been stripped of three gold medals last month in earlier doping cases.

The retesting program has led to at least 98 positive tests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, many of them down to recent advances in techniques for detecting steroids.

MORE: IOC president answers critics on Russia doping

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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