PARIS (Xinhua) — Thailand and Malaysia have been banned from sending weightlifters to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo because of multiple doping offences, the Independent Member Federations Sanctions Panel announced on Saturday.
The Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association (TAWA) and the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MFW) have also been suspended as members of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for three years and one year, respectively.
The panel said the ban on Thai and Malaysian weightlifters from Tokyo 2020 would stand regardless of the change in schedule for that tournament, which has been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thailand had voluntarily withdrawn from international competitions, including Tokyo 2020, after nine of its weightlifters tested positive at the 2018 World Championships. No Thai weightlifters had entered the IWF’s Olympic qualification process following the self-suspension.
Thai athletes over the age of 18 have been excluded for an additional 11 months following the next IWF event, while under-18s cannot compete for five months after the next IWF competition.
The panel said the suspensions “will not start to run during the period when all IWF events are canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic”.
The panel said the sanction on the TAWA will be in place until at least March 7, 2022 and could lifted on or after that date if the troubled federation meets a set of pre-determined criteria.
Malaysia has been punished after three weightlifters were caught doping in a calendar year.
Athletes from the country have been banned from participating at IWF events for an additional five months following the next competition sanctioned by the worldwide body to take place.
The suspension of the MWF could be lifted as early as October 4 this year if the organization can demonstrate it has adhered to criteria designed to prevent further doping issues in the future.
TAMA and MFW have 21 days from April 1 to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the panel said.