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Turkey Becomes at Risk of Paris 2024 Weightlifting Ban

In a concerning development, Turkey finds itself in the company of nations facing potential repercussions ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The country’s weightlifting reputation has taken a hit as one of its athletes has been provisionally suspended for doping violations for the third time in just three months.

Joining the ranks of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Turkmenistan, Turkey’s struggles with doping violations have come into the spotlight. These nations have all experienced instances where three or more weightlifters have tested positive within a span of twelve months.

Batuhan Yuksel, a remarkable weightlifter who secured the silver medal in the 81-kilogram category at this year’s European Championships in Armenia, has recently been found to have tested positive for the anabolic steroid oxymetholone. Yuksel, a 23-year-old athlete, achieved an impressive 18kg improvement in his career-best total, securing second place with a total weight of 339kg, closely trailing behind Italy’s Oscar Reyes.

The sample that yielded this positive result was collected from Yuksel on July 28, a day outside of any official competition. The International Testing Agency (ITA), responsible for anti-doping procedures within the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), released this update.

Notably, earlier this year, Turkey faced a similar predicament with two members of their team testing positive for the steroid methasterone during the European Championships. Hakan Kurnaz, a 19-year-old former world junior champion, and Pelinsu Bayav were both implicated in these violations.

Within the Olympic weight category of 89kg, Yuksel currently holds the 28th position in the Paris rankings. The athletes in Turkey’s best-performing categories for Paris qualification include Ferdi Hardal and Yusuf Genc in the men’s 61kg and 73kg divisions, as well as Duygu Alici and Dilara Narin in the women’s 49kg and 81kg categories.

Adding to the complexity, Turkey is slated to host the 2024 European Championships in Antalya in February—a crucial event serving as an Olympic qualifier.

The consequences for Turkey, along with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Turkmenistan, could be severe. These nations could face suspensions of up to four years or fines reaching $500,000 under Article 12 of the IWF’s anti-doping regulations. The exact penalties will be determined by an independent panel after the cases are fully examined.

Furthermore, the unique rules of the Paris 2024 qualifying system outline that nations accumulating three or more doping violations resulting in suspensions of four years or longer, between July 2021 and July 2024, will automatically be barred from participation in the Olympics.

In a separate incident, Kazakhstan faced significant challenges with doping violations during the Asian Championships in South Korea, resulting in five positive tests. Additionally, the country’s national anti-doping organization suspended four teenage members of its national team for testing positive for selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS), banned substances known for promoting muscle mass growth.

Historically, Kazakhstan’s doping issues are well-documented, with the country having to forfeit four gold medals from the 2012 London Olympic Games due to reanalyzed stored samples in 2016.

Turkmenistan faced its own struggles, as three athletes, including two sisters whose father serves as a national youth coach, tested positive for methasterone within a three-month period.

Ukraine also found itself in a difficult position, with three positive tests for steroids occurring between October 2022 and March of the following year.

In a separate development, the International Testing Agency confirmed a three-year suspension following a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing for Mauritius lifter Anthony Madanamoothoo. Known for his achievements at the African Championships in the 77kg category, Madanamoothoo’s suspension stemmed from evading or refusing a doping test.

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Tanya Shaiko

Author: Tanya Shaiko
News Editor, Olympic Lifting Enthusiast

Oly Lifting Experience: 6 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 61 kg,
C&J – 78 kg

I’m Tanya, and I just can’t do without fitness. About six years ago, I got into Olympic weightlifting and instantly fell in love with it. Weightlifting is like no other sport – it’s just you versus the bar. Driven by my unwavering passion for an active lifestyle, I’ve been eager to share my personal journey and sports enthusiasm with others. As a journalist and photographer, my interests come full circle, adding an extra dimension to the news column that I curate. This way, I keep my readers updated with the latest happenings in the sports world.

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