Russian weightlifters Atnabayev, Kekhter suspended for four years

Moscow, Feb 4 (IANS) Russian weightlifters Ilya Atnabayev and Denis Kekhter have been handed four-year suspensions for using performance-enhancing drugs, according to a list of banned athletes published on Thursday by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

Atnabayev, the 2015 European youth champion in the Under-85 kg weight-category, tested positive for anabolic agent Stanozolol and was suspended for the period between June 16, 2015 and June 16, 2019.

Kekhter, the 2014 European youth champion in the Under-94 kg weight category, was suspended after he did not show up for the required doping testing last year. His suspension is in force between May 21, 2015 and May 21, 2019.

Alexander Petrov, the vice president of the Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF), confirmed on Thursday that Kekhter was suspended for skipping the mandatory doping test, although the athlete was notified beforehand of the time and venue for the test.

“It happened last May. He was not present during the doping test and the International Weightlifting Federation resorted to relevant sanctions. He was punished for skipping the test although he knew where and when he had to pass it,” Petrov said.

Speaking about Atnabayev, Petrov said the athlete denies taking the banned substance, which was discovered in his blood, but he has no proof.

“His blood sample revealed presence of a banned substance and he was suspended,” Petrov said.

“The weightlifter could have appealed the suspension… and his only argument is that he never consumed that medicine. However, he cannot explain how the banned substance entered his body. He has no proof whatsoever.”

Stanozolol, also known as Winstrol, is a synthetic anabolic steroid used as a performance enhancing drug and is banned for use by athletes in competitions under the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as well as many other international governing bodies of sports.

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