OCA upholds China, Kazakhstan Asian Games weightlifting ban

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JAKARTA, Aug 18 (AFP): The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) confirmed on Saturday there would be no last-minute Asian Games reprieve for banned weightlifting powerhouse China.

Both China, who won seven golds in the 2014 Asian Games, and Kazakhstan, who took one gold, are among nine nations currently serving 12-month International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) suspensions for multiple doping violations.

Rumours had circulated in Jakarta that China could be reinstated by the International Weightlifting Federation after the country’s banned athletes suddenly appeared on the official Games website two days ago.

But the IWF agreed at an executive board meeting in Lausanne on Friday to keep monitoring the nine countries before making any changes to their banned status.

“We follow the rules of the International Weightlifting Federation,” OCA director general Husain Al Musallam told AFP after the meeting in Jakarta.

“They (the IWF) had their meeting and they did not send us anything to say we can allow China or Kazakhstan athletes to take part,” Al Musallam said.

“They were (on the website) because we were waiting, we were putting everything on standby so if the decision was taken we can put them there within five minutes.

“We were ready to allow them to compete but the decision was with the IWF.”

China will compete in 38 of the 40 sports at the Asian Games, which begins officially with opening ceremonies in both the host cities Jakarta and Palembang later on Saturday.

They are hot favourites to top the medals table with Kabaddi, the south Asian speciality, the only other discipline in which they will not have any athletes entered.

The weightlifting competition begins Monday, with North Korea and Iran expected to dominate in China’s absence.

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