Celebrated weightlifter Ilya Ilyin has denied taking banned substances after he was named among four Kazakh gold-medal winners from the 2012 London Olympics to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in their reanalyzed samples.
Ilyin, the men’s 94kg champion, and female lifters Zulfiya Chinshanlo (53kg), Maiya Maneza (63kg) and Svetlana Podobedova (75kg) all failed tests, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said.
“I think we will be able to prove the complete absurdity and inconsistency of the allegations against me,” the 28-year-old Ilyin wrote on his Instagram page, describing the IWF announcement as “a thunderstorm on a sunny day”.
Kazakhstan’s Weightlifting Federation said in a statement that while it is the responsibility of athletes to adhere to anti-doping regulations, it would help them appeal the charges.
The four Kazakh lifters and six from other countries, including seven medal winners from London, were expected to be contenders at the Rio de Janeiro Games in August but have all been provisionally suspended.
Ilyin, who also won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, tested positive for dehydrochloromethyltestosterone and stanozolol when the International Olympic Committee reanalyzed samples from the last Olympics, the IWF announced.
Among the other titles on Ilyin’s list of achievements are four world titles and two Asian Games gold medals.