Sergey Syrtsov has resigned as President of the Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF) after the nation’s team were banned from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last month in the wake of the ongoing doping scandal.
Syrtsov, head of the RWF since 2010, told the TASS news agency that”someone had to be held responsible for what had happened” and that he had informed the national governing body of his decision by letter.
He also confirmed that Maxim Agapitov, a weightlifting world champion in 1997, would take over the role in an acting capacity.
The former RWF President was himself the subject of controversy earlier this year after he was elected as chairman of the European Weightlifting Federation’s Anti-Doping Commission in spite of the allegations levelled against the sport in Russia and the nation as a whole.
Russian weightlifters were prohibited from competing at the Games in the Brazilian city following publication of the McLaren Report, as well as the advice of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and re-analysis of Beijing 2008 and London 2012 samples.
In a statement released in July, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said that the “integrity of the weightlifting sport has been seriously damaged on multiple times and levels by the Russians, therefore an appropriate sanction was applied in order to preserve the status of the sport.”
They also highlighted the “extremely shocking and disappointing statistics” regarding Russian weightlifters.
“I have applied for the resignation and Maxim Agapitov will be the acting President,” Syrtsov told TASS. “My reasons? Somebody must be held responsible for what had happened and this is what I have done.”
A total of nine Russian weightlifters returned positive tests following the IOC’s reanalysis of samples provided at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 out of the current number of 49 confirmed cases in the sport.
Eight of those implicated won medals in either the Chinese capital or in London four years ago.
Andrey Demanov is the only Russian on the list who did not finish in the top three.
He he was fourth in the men’s 94 kilograms event.
Among those set to be stripped of their medals are Apti Aukhadov, winner of a silver in the men’s 85kg competition at London 2012, and Alexandr Ivanov, second in the 94kg event.
The McLaren report, which alleged the presence of a systemic state-sponsored doping scheme in Russia at several major events, including the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, found 117 “disappearing positives” – positive samples illegally swapped for clean ones – in weightlifting.
Weightlifting was the only sport at Rio 2016 where Russians were completely banned from taking part.
One track and field competitor – long jumper Darya Klishnina – participated after proving she had not been a part of the state-sponsored system.
She claimed she had been tested outside of Russia in the United States and was eventually cleared to compete by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz