(Original Post from March 2015. See Updates.)
Here we go again …
Reuters reports that 11 Bulgarian weightlifters tested positive two weeks ago during a training camp for the 2015 Europeans.
Same deal as in 2008, when 11 Bulgarians tested positive for methandienone (Dianabol).
Update 28.01.2017: After initially ruling that Bulgaria doesn’t have to pay the 500000 USD fine (Update on 29.01.2016) the IWF apparently tried to fine them again (I must have missed this part).
Now CAS decided against the IWF, dropping the fine again. (via Bulgarian Federation)
Their bans (ranging from 9 and 18 months) ended on 19.12.2015 and 19.09.2016 respectively. So it looks like Bulgarian weightlifting will be back this year.
Update 29.01.2016: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled that the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation remains banned from the upcoming Olympic games in Rio. In return they don’t have to pay the $500000 US fine. (via)
Update 15.12.2015: Bulgaria has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the decision is expected by the end of January 2016. Earlier this year they said they wanted to sue the IWF because they had proved that the supplements were contaminated. (via & via).
Update 06.11.2015: Bulgaria threatened to be excluded from IWF (via).
Bulgaria has to pay $500.000 US. This will be officially announced November 18-19th. If they don’t pay the fine. Bulgarian weightlifters will not be allowed to compete in IWF events.
The first part of the fine has to be paid within 6 months. If not the country ban will kick in, which in turn would lead to the Bulgarian WL federation losing their license from the ministry of sports.
The ministry of sports indicated that it doesn’t want to any of this. So the Federation is looking for sponsors.
Update 17.06.2015: IWF hands out Minimum penalties (via).
Instead of 4 year bans for first offenses and a lifetime bans second offenses, the Bulgarians who tested positive will receive 9 and 18 months respectively.
The reduced penalties are because they made a convincing point that the supplements they took were tainted.
The Bulgarians still have the option to appeal at the CAS (so as to reduce the huge fines).
Update 23.04.2015: The WADA lab in Cologne supposedly confirmed the contaminated supplements (“Trybest”). (via)
They looked at three samples, one that was used by the team in Bulgaria, one which was commercially available and sent in for analysis by the Bulgarian Federation and a third which was purchased over the Internet from within the laboratory. Results for all three have been identical.
Update 31.03.2015: Ivan did 177+213 at the Bulgarian nationals, shortly before the test results were published (via).
Update 26.03.2015: Bulgaria won’t pay the fines. That means it’s likely there will be no Bulgarian Weightlifters at the Rio Olympics 🙁 (via)
Generally it’s $50000 US per positive athlete. The maximum is $500000 US when 9 or more athletes get caught (as stated in the IWF Anti Doping Policy PDF §12.3.1).
The article mentions that with them the sanctions may be much harsher (600000 to 1 Million) because they are repeat offenders.
Not sure how they arrive at those numbers as there is nothing in rules about that.
The minister of sports Krasen Kralev already said the the state won’t pay the fine. Since the Bulgarian weightlifting federation has no other revenues the fate of the team is pretty clear.
Update 21.03.2015: Sports minister says funding for the Bulgarian weightlifting federation shall be suspended until the case is closed (via).
What did they take? Stanozolol
- Ivan Markov, after 2008 this is the second positive test for him.
- Ivaylo Filev, 2nd positive test (first in 2008)
- Demir Demirev, also 2nd positive test (first in 2008 as well).
- Deyan Minchev
- Asen Muradov
- Ferdi Nazif
- Vladimir Urumov
- Stoyan Enev
- Milka Maneva – 2nd positive test.
- Nadezhda-Mey Tuy Nguen,
- Maya Ivanova
PS: Still taking bets on when weightlifting world records will be reset once again 😉
Update 21.03.2015: Not related to this, but Milen Dobrev was found dead in his apartment. He was only 35. (via)
dustin oranchuk says
Good that the drug testing is catching some of the cheats. Although im a bit sad that we will never see Markov lift again. great tallent
Armin Tamzarian says
Your comment disgusts me!
dustin oranchuk says
Cus he’s thinking, “Look at Ivan Markov! Look at them puppy dog eyes! Now we’ll never see them on stage again and you say ‘good’?? How could you look at that darling face and call him a cheat? How. Could. You?” LOL
Armin Tamzarian says
Yiiehaww, ye damn right fella. cus ya know it all. yieeeehaaaw. LOL
Armin Tamzarian says
Dustin, PEDs are not “cheating” since elite sports is unthinkable without them nowadays. It´s standard procedure. Deal with it.
Calling Markov a cheat regarding the whole system is just an oversimplification to me. His performance is outstanding no matter what.
I don´t say therefore it´s good. I´m sorry I sounded that rude, but atm I´m fed up with all the discussion about enhancement in sports. To me it is hipocritical.
Tom Bennett says
liao Hui got busted then set world records…does anyone actually think he’s “Clean” LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
Ashok regiment says
what disgusts me is the collective outrage not at the dopers but at them getting caught. This is ridiculous
These drug tests have nothing to do with catching some of the cheats. The only thing this system is good for is taking bribes and banning athletes who can’t pay them off.
Ivaylo filev,demir demirev and milka maneva is inn the same boat as Ivan Markov, if i am not wrong. They got all busted back in 2008 with markov.
That’s right. I’ll add this.
why did IWF and WADA do not go to training camps in Russia, Poland, Kaz, China. Since the 1988 olympics they are banning Bulgarian lifters, there is something wrong with this standard
dustin oranchuk says
maybe the other countries are able to use drugs that are much harder to detect. Stanozolol is notoriously easy to be detected.
they are using water-based steroids.. they are smart enough to hire a private doctor before using any substances and of course for cleaning cycle. who knows, right?
Poland are in problems with 4 or 5 who tested positive last year. 3 was top lifters, Russia,kaz and china are to big inn weightlifting and got the money to back them up.
Harry Fabian Cronin says
As with 2008, all of the athletes testing for the same substance increases the chances of this being a case of systematic doping. If that’s that case then I hope the athletes are let off with lighter bans and the punishment falls heavily on the coaches shoulders…
Beijing blood samples to be retested for new-style EPO
I am not sure how this is going to play with weightlifters participated in 2008 games. I am all for it and I support testing old samples.
Dude, the article is dated October 2008 LOL
March 20, 2015
The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that it will use new screening methods to retest athlete samples from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics for steroids and erythropoietin (EPO). The statute of limitations on doping sanctions is 10 years after initial testing.
Well, EPO (CERA) is for endurance events so I doubt weightlifters would use it but it did say “steroids” too.
David Oliveira says
Poor Bulgaria 🙁
Marcin Fisior says
WADA KILLS WEIGHTLIFTING AGAIN
Paulo Cavalcanti says
We should start asking them to stop doing this. This is completely nonsense. Doping is as technology and should be part of strategy, trying to fight it is just rewarding who hides better!
Part of strategy, are you kidding?… doping is the worst thing for athletes health and if I want to be a champion I’ll have to use doping substances and neglecting my health… Is it fair?! IT IS A F*CKING SHAME!
So you gonna stop to watching professional weightlifting or other sports?
Would be the consequence of your message
It is sad that good lifters from small poor weightlifting nations get caught. I wonder if Markov lifted for RUS whether or not he would be in this same situation. Same goes for Daniel Godalli (Sorry for the spelling of the last name). I believe he really could have challenged Lu at Rio. Great the sport is “cleaning” up but the fact of the matter is I would much rather see unhumanly weights being lifted. Only respect and admiration to the lifters at the top.
Well, while Godelli most likely wouldn’t have been busted if he’d joined the Russian team, they also most likely wouldn’t have given him such monstrous doses such that he could almost total 381 while half a year ago, he was at 349 LOL
If Godelli got caught with a TE ratio of 20:1 then his home nation clearly needs to invest in some more qualified “sports chemists”. I just feel for Markov as he had a good shot at Rio.
Maybe Albania fired their doctor then Bulgaria picked him up for cheap LOL
Im guessing they had the same doctor too!
Chris Theoharis says
This. Bust the small nations while clearly Russia and China just have better funded or connected programs. I support drug free and honest lifting that abides by the official rules of the sport, but on the international stage, it’s quite clear PEDs are rampant. Given the politics of the sport on the international stage this just seems like punching down and window-dressing so the IWF and IOC can point to vigilant monitoring.
i dont know what i should think about this.
on the one hand i think doping has to be forbidden and abuse has to be pursuited and punished, if we want to see weightlifting competitions at the olympic games in the future and if we want to have young children in the weightlifting clubs, learning how to lift. under this preconditions these are good news, because wada showed that they dont shrink back from following some of the big names and nations in weightlifting.
on the other hand when i think about ivan markov wont be lifting in rio and there is one main opponent less for apti aukhadov, these are bad news, because ‘politics’ potentially affects the results of a competition.
i think its a really difficult question, but maybe they should start to be honest: of course doping has to be banned. but there are countries like russia, china, kazakhstan oder north korea, where it is impossible to execute non-announced doping-tests. and as long as there is no possibility to test every athlete in every federation, they should stop to do it only in several countries.
just test every athlete a few weeks (6-8) before and at the day of an official competition at the place where it takes place or another neutral place. of course, this is no way to exterminate doping, but it’s the only chance to recuperate equity for all athletes.
It’s impossible in North Korea; why is it impossible in Russia, China, Kazakhstan? As far as I know, it happens there and that’s how Liao Hui got busted back in 2010. You won’t catch any of these fine teams pulling an Albania in competition.
Please look into IWF testing statistics. It’s absolutey not true that Russia, China, Kazhakstan or Best Korea don’t get “non-announced doping-tests” aka OOC tests.
There are things that are worth improving like too few tests in general and for Russia in particular, yes, but this meme of “nobody except us poor [insert country] gets tested” is just pathetic.
Case in point, in his best year (2013) Lu Xiaojun was OOC tested in March, June and September while he only competed once outside of China in October. SOMEBODY did test him at these dates and I doubt he was on vacation in Europe or the US.
1. look at the 2013 testing statistics, for example russia: albegov, bedzhanian, ivanov, aukhadov, okulov and chen got medals at the worlds. not anybody of them had a single out of competition control over the whole year!
2. try to travel to russia..you will need a visa. from the moment a tester puts his feet on russian ground, they know he is there.
3. read about the corruption in russian athletic federation and the possibilies to get rid of positive doping tests…
Tom Bennett says
if a country won’t submit to the tests they shouldn’t be able to compete…very simple.
ussually i think that this kind of cases “11 members of XXX team” just happen with “poor federations” or whatever because dopping is everywhere at anytime. (sorry for my english).
These are seriously dark times for Bulgarian weightlifting. R.I.P. Milen Dobrev and very sorry about this newest fiasco – it starts to become tragicomic. It seems it’s always the poor Bulgarians.
Man that sucks. It’s sometimes hard to enjoy weightlifting as a spectator.
Anton Mårtensson says
Wow, RIP Milen
(Reuters) – Bulgaria’s 2004 Olympic weightlifting champion Milen Dobrev has died at the age of 35, the Bulgarian interior ministry said on Saturday. “His body was found at his home in (the southern town) Plovdiv,” an interior ministry spokeswoman told Reuters. “There are no signs of violence on the body, the cause of death is still not clear.”
Tom Bennett says
I saw Pechalov in those pics…sad. Dobrev was a great champion. Way too young to die.
What utter nonsense. How about you look into published statistics before writing such crap. Did you know that Sedov and Uteshov were tested OOC in 2013, and even Ilyin even though he wasn’t active? Hey did you know that the top KAZ women from the 2013 WWC were tested more times OOC than Lydia Valentin?
Or how about Ilyin’s four OOC tests before London?
No, you probably don’t know that.
sorry man, everybody is clean, poor bulgaria.
Nice evasion. You wrote
>why did IWF and WADA do not go to training camps in Russia, Poland, Kaz, China.
without providing any evidence.
Meanwhile we have evidence for out of competition tests for lifters from all of these countries. How does nobody visit them when Om Yun Chol, Tatiana Kashirina, Adrian Zielinski, Zhou Lulu and many more get tested while not competing?
So tell me What happens in 1988 when the whole team of Bulgária was out of the competition
They FAILED the test.
You talk like everybody is on the exact same thing at the exact same time and a failed test is only a result of unfairly targeting a certain country.
wlift84 is providing evidence that these other countries that you think avoid testing are in fact being tested, not claiming that they are clean, just that what you are complaining about is wrong.
yeah, so why non of those lifters did not fail in 1986 and 1987 when Bulgaria won those championships? that is very strange for me.
Uh… they didn’t get caught then. The surprise check didn’t happen to land on when they were peaking steroids? Plenty of weightlifters make it through beautifully, then a one-time bad timing/luck or doctor’s misjudgment gets them busted. Why are you asking these really simple, basic questions? Do you, for some reason, think that someone who uses PEDs will, at all times, in all seasons, test positive?
In my opinion the soviets did not want to loose the number of gold medals in the 1988 Seoul olympics, so there was a possibility of politic reasons for that event. that is very simple for me, the Bulgarians were the strongest because they more hard workings.
I can’t even follow your argument anymore.
No problem. Good day
Why would you think Bulgarians work harder than everyone else? You say that other people like Russians and Chinese need to be checked (even though they are and you didn’t know), which indicates that you think they do well because they got away with steroids. Now, you say you think Bulgarians do well because they just work hard. What kind of logic is this? Why would you think that the Bulgarians could not have used steroids and thus got caught? That is the simplest and most probable explanation but it seems you wanna make theories to accuse literally everyone else to avoid the most obvious conclusion, that the Bulgarians cheated and got caught, and it happened again. Are you Bulgarian?
No man I am not talking about nowadays weightlifitng, Bulgaria is not the same as was in the 80’s, to tell you the truth I think that the Asians are much more working hard than every other nations in these days. I was talking about the 1988 olympics in Seoul when the whole team of bulgaria was out of the competition. they won the 1986 and 1987 world cahmpionships and could probabily win in 1988 too. I can not say that this or that team was taking PEDs or not, I was just talking about politics. and we can not forget that in that competition we lost the greatest batlle in weightlifitng history, Botev against Zakharevich. And I am not Bulagarian, I only have bulgarian roots in family.
Rest in peace Milen
oh boy. why is it always bulgarians involved somehow.
I’m going to guess the records will be set after the inclusion of another women’s weightclass, so 2017 WWC.
Tom Bennett says
such a joke…just let all weightlifters use the stuff. They know the risks…
Risks to lift without PEDs are greatly higher. WADA is a official huge money making machine even without speculation about corruption. All this so-called clean honest sport is just a folding-screen. Athletes just have to accept rules of under carpet games. Sometimes it goes wrong. Best wishes for banned athletes of Bulgaria.
Fucking fuck indeed. What a shame! 85 just go a lot less interesting
Jerker Karlsson says
Indeed, especially since it seemed (to me) that Markov still had his best results ahead of him.
Wow… If you think that bulgarians are unfair and other lifters only eat tuna and take their vitamins you’re stupid.
This thread is a prime example of the usual doping discussion that goes nowhere. Either say something insightful, constructive, something that would enrich the discussion or don’t say anything at all.
Thanks for understanding.
If the sport would be clean today,the results would be diferent,in 1959 a +110 weightlifting champion couldnt cl + jr 220,in 1988 we have a 59,7kg lifter that cl+jr 190kg.The results are clear,the human body can’t lift such weights without “extra food”.
There is an outside possibility that we would see mass exodus of lifters to other countries such as Turkey and Qatar. It is too late for Rio but they will get a chance to participate in the worlds or other international tournaments.
Jerker Karlsson says
The Bulgarians started getting caught for Furosemide in 1988, and withdrew the team after having competed in the weight classes up to 75 kg. The lifters getting caught were Mitko Grabnev (56 kg) and Angel Guenchev (67.5 kg), whose disqualifications meant Soviet lifters jumped up to gold and silver in the respective weight classes. In two other weight classes, the Bulgarian gold medalists tested clean, but in those cases no Soviet athlete would benefit greatly from them getting caught.
Bulgaria withdrew the team for fear of more lifters getting caught, as they felt they were victims of a conspiracy meant to give Soviet lifters more medals. Abadjiev claimed they couldn’t really test positive for Furosemide since they knew how it worked and when it cleared the system.
I don’t know what’s true or not, but it’s a shame Bulgaria didn’t compete in 1988 in the heavier weight classes. Chances are some great lifting could have been done.
Kurt Mannchen says
Kurt Mannchen: Hello Gregor, I started lifting in competition in the USA in 1967. I started seeing drugs being used for weightlifting in the early 70’s. I don’t think we will ever completely get rid of drugs in sports. Someone will always look for an advantage and the drugs will always be slightly ahead of the testing. I would have two divisions, one for non drug users and one for drug users. If you get caught using drugs in the non drug group, you are out and won’t be able to even lift in the drug group. It will then be up to the IWF and/or IOC as to what group will lift in the olympics. For World Championships there would be two of them, one for non drugs users and another one for the drug users. Then we will be able to see what the human body can do with and without help.
If I really think it through I might come to a surprising conclusion. I’ve been sucking my teeth since the Seoul Olympics 1988 because of the caught Bulgarians. I always thought it was so unjust. Now I think – sadly but true – every country has to play the game and collaborate with WADA. If someone doesn’t have the means to play this game then that country shouldn’t do it. There were so many Bulgarian doping cases that I can hardly believe that WL still exist in Bulgaria. In Hungary there was a doping scandal in 1988 and in 2004 and weightlifting almost died out. It’s still close to zero if you ask me.. So these suspensions are doing more damage then they can ever fix with occasional medals. I’ve been thinking about Markov since I got to like him 3 years ago if he was gonna make it until the Olympics..well he didn’t :((( Such a waste!
Tom Bennett says
absolute power corrupts absolutely?
Well, I think there is a point when it has to be stopped. I mean these kind of mass doping scandals damage the sport not just domestically but internationally too. I remember there was a time when officials even considered to cancel WL from the olympics. They said there were too many positive doping cases and so on. What I see today is that lifting is popular and it’s reputation is getting better. Hell ,even the weight stets are brand new everywhere in international champs. Before 2005 or so sometimes the organizers could get a set for the competition which was from the same brand.Some Eleiko some Uesaka mixed 🙂 Today there are very many weightlifters in every age category.You can watch everything with live stream. The whole thing is buzzing and I love it. If the rumors are true Bulgarian officials – some of them – don’t give a shit about WL and what level of damage they do to it just want to be in power.Well what they can do is not limitless and I want to enjoy weightlifting not worrying about this kind of bums who don’t care. They think nothing is going to happen because they always got away with it since the Seoul Olympics. I feel sorry for the lifters – especially Markov who is one of my favorite and I thought he could be the next with a 400 total – but if that is the price I’ll be OK without them.
Tom Bennett says
Markov got screwed.. He’s a contender. What I don’t understand is why the athletes aren’t checking their blood levels “themselves”…or is it too much to keep track of?
Only somewhat related, but could ATG get hold of the 2014 testing statistics per athlete? The IWF didn’t publish those like in previous years. :/
I’ll see what I can do. Don’t expect anything though.
So after all this Ivan Markov is still out of the Rio Olympics! I can’t believe this …
oh my god, may be our whey protein are full of stanozolol
Well, there are many stories about supplements that worked great and then disappeared from the market, because the FDA or somebody else found illegal components in the ingredients. The rumor goes that it is even part of the strategy to first add something like test or similar drugs so that the first customers are excited about the new supplement and keep recommending it. The second batch is then without the illegal substances but people still believe that it works, because it did so in the past.
Of course given the history of bulgarian weightlifting this seems not very likely, but I find the decision to reduce the penalty nonetheless. Either they are found guilty and get the normal punishment or not. But then they shouldn’t be penalized at all. To be banned for 18 months still means to miss the next Olympic games. So for Markov in particular that is still almost just as bad.
Sorry, I have to disagree with the second part. The rules are outlined clearly (ok not so much since they’re in lawyer speak). Why shouldn’t they be held accountable? Something which potentially gives them an advantage was in their body.
Let’s say this Bulgarian test didn’t happen OOC before the Euro’s but normally IC. Markov wins, gets tested and the Stanozolol traces get found there as well. He makes the same convincing case of tainted supplements. Should he keep his title?
Not sure you will read this reply as I am very late, but I want to respond. I didn’t read the rules. It just seems to me strange to be punished when it was not your mistake. How can you know if the supplements prodived by a third party contain forbidden substances? Should the athlete test his supplements in a lab to be sure?
So I’d answer your hypothetical question with yes he should keep his title although I find it next to impossible for the athlete to prove his innocence.
As a side note. This kind of doping discussion take all the fun out of sport.
Gilad Rodov says
These anti doping policies ruin weighlifting
Doping users ruin weightlifting.
No steroids . WAS MY POINT….couldn’t afford them