Bulgarian Weightlifters Test Positive for Doping Ahead of European Championship
Eleven members of Bulgaria’s weightlifting teams (men and women) have tested positive for a banned substance, which could prevent them from taking part in the European championship next month.
According to a statement posted on the website of the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation, a sudden doping test of the 11 men and women conducted two weeks ago by a lab in Cologne, Germany, had shown the presence of stanozolol – a synthetic anabolic steroid banned for use by weightlifters.
The tested eight men and three women were preparing for the Senior European Weightlifting Championship, to be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 9 to 18 April. A ninth member of the men's team hasn't been tested just because he was taking part in a competition in Germany at the time.
The President of the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation Nedelcho Kolev commented that an internal probe had already suggested what might be the reason why the weightlifters had failed the doping test.
“Following urgent tests and an enquiry, we have already been informed by authoritative sources that stanozolol is an ingredient of Tribestan, a product used by national team weightlifters on recommendation of the team’s medical staff,” Bonev said on the website of the Federation.
Stanozolol is one of the anabolic steroids commonly used as performance-bossting drugs. It is banned from use in sports competitions under the auspices of the International Association of Athletics Federation and many other sporting bodies.
“It’s an archaic substance in weightlifting, no one is using it, I’m shocked… My only explanation of its presence in the bodies of the weightlifters is that they had taken it through the food additives we are using for recovery,” Ivanov said, suggesting an abuse might have involved.
Ivanov and the affected weightlifters hope the tests of the food additives will show an unauthorized and unannounced presence of stanozolol in them, which could potentially become the basis for appealing the penalties that are expected to follow.
A four-year ban on taking part in sports competitions could be slapped on the affected weightlifters, according to the rules of the International Weightlifting Federation.
A guilty weightlifter’s coach is facing a two-year ban on training activities. In addition, if more than four weightlifters are found to have used banned stimulants, the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation will have to pay a hefty fine to restore its licence.
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