Nijat Rahimov (Kazakhstan) and Dumitru Captari, (Romania) have both been provisionally suspended pending the outcome of anti-doping cases against them.
Both athletes stand accused of using urine substitution to avoid positive tests.
Last year, we reported on several WADA operations that have been looking into issues of corruption and doping in weightlifting. One of those, Operation Arrow, was concerned with the use of so-called ‘Doppelgängers’ – substitutes who provide urine in place of a doping athlete to enable them to ensure a negative test result.
Operation Arrow has involved conducting DNA analysis on 59,153 samples collected between 2012 and 2019 to confirm whether the identified athlete actually provided the sample.
Nijat Rahimov is an Olympic (2016) and World (2015) Champion. His Olympic gold medal could be under threat as the alleged urine substitution happened at some point in 2016. He has already served a two-year ban from sport after testing positive for oxandrolone and dehydromethyltestosterone in 2013. His previous ban will likely mean a lengthy ban if the current charge is upheld.
Dumitru Captari originally represented Moldova in weightlifting but switched to Romania in 2015. His best result is a gold medal at the 2017 European Championships.
Captari’s suspension adds to Romania’s anti-doping woes, which have seen several athletes suspended in recent months and likely exclusion from the Tokyo Olympics if they go ahead in 2021.