The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), a Swiss-based international athletic regulatory authority, released a press release on March 22, 2022, declaring that Kazakh weightlifter and 2016 Olympic Champion Nijat Rahimov will serve an eight-year suspension for doping.
According to the press release, the CAS reached a decision after the International Weightlifting Federation filed an injunction request against Rahimov on April 29, 2021. (IWF). Rahimov’s ineligibility period will have started retrospectively on Jan. 18, 2021, and would last for eight years, according to the CAS’s sentence on behalf of the IWF.
All of his competition results between March 15, 2016, and January 18, 2021, as well as any medals, points, or rewards he may have received, will be purged for the 77-kilogram gold medallist from the Rio Olympic Games.
In January of 2021, the International Testing Agency (ITA) charged Rahimov with Violation of Use of a Prohibited Method, which the Kazakh lifter successfully challenged. Rahimov was found guilty of urine sample replacements, a breach of IWF Anti-Doping Article 2.2, after the case was taken to the CAS’s Sole Arbitrator.
Despite Rahimov’s legal challenge, the CAS affirmed the ITA’s allegation against him.
Nijat Rahimov’s Weightlifting Career
Throughout the 2010s, Rahimov was a constant on the Kazakh weightlifting team. Since his debut at the IWF Grand Prix in 2015, he competed in nine IWF events between 2015 and 2019, according to the IWF competitive result registry. At the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships, Rahimov won gold in the Total.
Rahimov narrowly defeated Chinese weightlifter and veteran participant Lu Xiaojun at the Rio Olympic Games a year later.
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Rahimov was awarded the Olympic gold medal because he was the lightest man in Rio, weighing just 0.64 kg less than Xiaojun. Later in 2016, the IWF would eliminate this rule, instead awarding the higher placing to the competitor who hits the given weight (or Total) first.
The penalty imposed by the CAS includes the confiscation of Rahimov’s Olympic medal, which will presumably be awarded to Xiaojun retroactively. If this is the case, it will be the Chinese athlete’s third gold medal at the Olympic Games (2012, 2020).
Xiaojun will join an elite group of Olympic Champions with three victories, which includes Greek lifters Pyrros Dimas and Kakhi Kakhiashvili, as well as Turkish competitors Halil Mutlu and Naim Süleymanolu.