It’s official now. International Olympic Committee stripped double Olympic gold champion Ilya Ilyin of his two gold medals on November 25. The Kazakh weightlifting giant is among 10 athletes who returned with positive doping test results done by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The new announcements mean that three Olympic gold medals and one silver medal have to be returned from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
The fall of the Kazakh Giant
The Kazakh giant Ilya Aleksandrovich Ilyin remained an undisputed champion in the 94-kg class for 8 years. Ilya Ilyin won the 2006 Junior World Weightlifting Championships, 2006 World Weightlifting Championships and 2006 Asian Games in Doha. Thereafter, he won two Olympic Gold medals in his favorite weightlifting category, the 94-kg class at the 2008 and 2012 editions.
In 2013, Kazakhstan released a stamp featuring Ilyin on its face. All that stands vilified as Ilya tested positive for at least three banned substances in two test samples. In March 2016, the International Weight Lifting Federation (IWF) named Ilyin as the IWF World Weightlifter of the Year for the 4th time in his career. However, IWF released a list of 10 athletes in June 2016 who returned Adverse Analytical Findings on IOC reanalysis of samples from 2012 London Olympic Games. One of them was Ilya Ilyin.
The doping disgrace
Four Olympic champions from Kazakhstan tested positive in 2012. WADA retested all the samples before provisionally handing them suspension in June 2016. Along with Ilyin, three women champions also failed tests according to the IWF. With the latest developments, Ilyin becomes the first Olympic Games champion to be banned and disgraced for doping. The striping has reduced Kazakhstan’s 10-year weightlifting program to rubble. Ilya had to sit out the 2016 Rio Olympic Games due to the suspension.
Ilyin has so far maintained a stoic silence on the whole issue, suggesting he has done nothing to disgrace his sport and the nation. However, the shaken and shocked weightlifter is considering an appeal to the IOC soon.
The information dopping test positive was like thunderstorm during sunny day to me. According to regulations and norms of IWF all detailed information about myself specifying every single day and hour of my life including my physical presence independent if it is my day off or working in sporthall everything is available in the ADAMS international system. Iam always available and open for Anti dopping controllers and meanwhilebhave passed twice this year dopping tests. Once in Poland during the trainings and in Almaty. As you all know every single international competition starts with Dopping test, and it is must for all athletes and myself do pass this dopping tests since 2004. Since 2004 all my dopping tests were negative. Iam continuing my work for thevOlympic games in Rio and planning to fight till the end. Our country and sport managment authorities indeed trying as maximum.as possie in the proccess to clarify this akward situation. I sincerely believe by the end of June this situation will be solved. I have time till the mid of July to apply to participate in Rio Olympic games. I truly believe that we can proove my eligibility in this absurdity and groundlessness of the accusation. Apart from the desicion concerning my eligibility i want all of you to know that i spend 20 years of my short life in the sporthall, training 3 times a day till it bleeds ignoring the pain. I always felt the responsibility on my shoulders for my country, my people and fight till the end to win. All these years i felt the support of every and each of my people and fans when it was hard days and Red letter days. I hope for your support. Yours Ilya Ilyin
IOC is yet to make a decision on the reallocation of the medals.
Image courtesy: The Astana Times via Twitter