Nigerian champion’s positive test casts shadow over the future of weighlifting

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The future of weightlifting as a core sport in the Commonwealth Games programme has again been thrown into doubt after Nigerian 53kg gold medallist Chika Amalaha tested positive for drugs.

The 16-year-old Nigerian has been provisionally suspended pending the results of a ‘B’ sample after traces of diuretics and masking agents were found in an in-competition test.

Amalaha won the gold medal at the Clyde Auditorium on Friday, setting new Games records in her weight category in both the snatch and overall elements. Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said: “We [have] issued a formal notice of disclosure to an athlete following an adverse analytical finding as a consequence of an in-competition test.

“That athlete is Nigerian weightlifter Chika Amalaha who was tested on July 25th. That athlete has now been suspended from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“The relevant processes, as detailed in our anti-doping standard for the Games, are now being followed and Ms Amalaha has pursued her right to have her ‘B’ sample tested. This will take place at an accredited laboratory in London (today). Upon receipt of those results the process will continue.”

Asked about the legitimacy of weightlifting as a Commonwealth Games sport given its history of drug-related incidents, Hooper added: “I think weightlifting is a fantastic sport and a strong Commonwealth and Olympic sport.

“I think the issue here is about showing we have a robust anti-doping programme in place.”