Sanctions for Bulgarian weightlifters tested positive for doping
Two of the 11 Bulgarian weightlifters who missed the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics after testing positive for doping received a life-long ban from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). The penalties were announced on September 11 2008.
Georgi Markov and Alan Tsagaev were banned for life because this was their second positive doping test.
The rest of the 11 athletes – Velichko Cholakov, Demir Demirev, Mehmed Fikretov, Ivailo Filev, Ivan Markov and Ivan Stoitsov on the men’s team, as well as Gergana Kirilova, Milka Maneva and Donka Mincheva on the women’s team – received a four-year ban from official competitions.
Next to that, the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation will have to pay a fine of $465 000. The fine will have to be paid by the BWF itself and not the state after the Bulgarian State Agency for Youth and Sports decided to stop its financing to the BWF. The federation has received about five million leva in funding over the last four years.
The BWF is also expected to find who doped the entire weightlifting Olympic team. The team tested positive few weeks before the start of the Olympics and, so far, no one has assumed any kind of responsibility for the blow that threatens to destroy Bulgaria’s weightlifting.
When the news about the doping test became public BWF president, Anton Kodjabashev, a former weightlifter himself, said that it made no sense that all 11 athletes could test positive for illegal substances.
In a statement sent to the media he said that вЂњtraces of the substance for which the athletes were tested positive can be discovered for a minimum six month period after the drug is taken. That’s why it makes no sense for the athletes to take it 60 days before the Olympics, especially when they know that they are tested for doping every monthвЂќ.
Unfortunately, Bulgaria’s weightlifting has a long tradition of drug abuse. At the summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988, two Bulgarian weightlifters – Mitko Grablev and Angel Genchev – were stripped of their gold medals after being found guilty of doping.
In 2000, weightlifters Isabela Rifatova, Ivan Ivanov and Sevdalin Minchev tested positive for a diuretic during the Sydney Olympics. Rifatova won the gold in the 48kg category, Ivanov won a silver medal in the 56kg category, and Minchev won the bronze in the 62kg category.