October 14, 2016
Iran may be about to win yet another Olympic gold medal—from the 2012 Olympics!
Saeed Mohammadpour finished fifth in the 2012 94-kilo division of weightlifting. He didn’t come close to a medal. At least not then.
But the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has now found banned substances in the urine samples of the weightlifters in that division who finished first, second, third and fourth.
If the International Olympic Committee (IOC) accepts WADA’s reports, as it normally does, then Mohammadpour would be elevated to the gold medal winner, making him the fifth Iranian to win a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
The lifters who finished in sixth and seventh place in 2012 have also been reported by WADA for illegal substances. That means the men who finished eighth and ninth could be elevated to silver and bronze medal winners.
All six facing disqualification are from states that were once part of the Soviet Union.
A total of 43 weightlifters have now failed doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, prompting some calls for weightlifting to be dropped from the Olympics.
Iranians have not been exempt from doping charges. Last week, the Iranian anti-doping organization said nine athletes, including two women cyclists, had been found taking illegal substances by WADA. The two women were banned for four years. No action has yet been taken on the other cases.
Only one of the nine Iranian cases involved a weightlifter, and he is not an Olympic medalist. The others are from lesser sports, as rated in Iran. Here are the nine:
Reyhaneh Khatooni, cycling
Fatemeh Yusephi, cycling
Mehdi Karami, weightlifting
Abolfazl Bahramsari, volleyball
Hessam Jafari, water polo
Mehrdad Joshan-Pasand, wushu
Hossain Abdi, bodybuilding
Mohsen Entezari, bodybuilding
Salar Bayat, badminton
Historically, weightlifting has been the main center of doping scandals, both globally and in Iran. The Iranian Weightlifting Federation seems to have moved firmly against the use of illegal substances after 11 Iranian weightlifters were tabbed for doping in 2006.
Of the 24 world records in weightlifting, Iranians currently hold four. At 85 kilos, Kianoush Rostami holds the record for the clean & jerk and total lift. In the super-heavyweight division, Behdad Salimi holds the record for the snatch and Hossain Rezazadeh holds the clean & jerk record. But the total lift record is held by Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia.