Kyrgyzstan's Artykov Tests Positive, Bronze Medal Stripped

Kyrgyzstan's Izzat Artykov, who beat Colombia's Luis Mosquera by 1kg for bronze in the men's 69kg category at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, has tested positive for strychnine--a toxic pesticide known for its use as a stimulant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His medal will be stripped.

Before the Olympics began, podium contenders tested positive, but this is the first medalist who has tested positive in Rio. The men's 69kg session took place last Wednesday, which would make this a quick turnaround for an-in competition test. But after the 2008 and 2012 Olympic sample retests revealed a significant amount of dopers in weightlifting, the IWF and IOC could be putting additional effort into quickly testing competitors.

Weightlifting has always been associated with doping, but lately, it's been egregious. The entire Russian team scratched at the last minute due to a major doping scandal, and, according the the head of the International Weightlifting Federation, teams from Kazakhstan and Belarus would have been banned as well if the IWF and IOC had acted quicker in releasing the results of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic retests.

Kazakhstan earned five medals in Rio this year, and three of them went to weightlifters who were sanctioned between 2013 and 2015.

Of the 45 podium finishers in Rio, 11 have tested positive and served sanctions in the past four years:


  • Sukanya Srisurat (THA), W58 gold, sanctioned 2011-2013, In Competition, Methandienone
  • Kim Kuk Hyang (PRK), W75+ silver, sanctioned 2012-2014, In Competition, Methyltestosterone, Methandriol 
  • Sarah Robles (USA), W75+ bronze, sanctioned 2013-2015, In Competition, DHEA, Testosterone, Pregnanediol


  • Farkhad Kharki (KAZ), M62 silver, sanctioned 2013-2015, In Competition, Metenolone
  • Nijat Rahimov (KAZ, but tested positive while lifting for AZE), M77 gold, sanctioned 2013-2015, Out of Competition, Oxandrolone, Dehydromethyltestosterone
  • Gabriel Sincraian (ROU), M85 bronze, sanctioned 2013-2015, Out of Competition, Stanozolol
  • Sohrab Moradi (IRI), M94 gold, sanctioned 2013-2015, In Competition, Methadone
  • Auramis Didzbalis (LTU),  M94 bronze, sanctioned 2012-2014, In Competition, Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone
  • Alexandr Zaichikov (KAZ), M105 bronze, sanctioned 2013-2015, In Competition, Stanozolol
  • Lasha Talakhadze (GEO), M105+ gold, sanctioned 2013-2015, In Competition, Stanozolol
  • Gor Minasyan (ARM), M105+ silver, sanctioned 2013-2015, In Competition, Norandrosterone

This isn't just embarrassing for weightlifting, but for the IOC, as well. There is no guarantee that weightlifting will remains an Olympic sport if its doping issues aren't addressed and resolved. That said, I expect a lot more positive samples to come out of weightlifting in Rio in the next week or two as they are processed.

Stay tuned in for more details as we receive them.

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