Eight Turkish weightlifters left off Med Games squad for doping
MERSİN - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey's first medals in the Mediterranean games with weightlifter Bünyamin Sezer who won one gold and one silver in the men's 62kg competition. DHA photoEight weightlifters have been left off the Turkish national squad ahead of the Mediterranean Games, which started yesterday in Mersin, after testing positive for doping. The president of Turkey's Weightlifting Federation, Tamer Taşpınar, said today all eight athletes had been competing in the men's contest and they were facing suspensions between six months and two years.
Turkish weightlifting has been rocked by two major doping scandals in recent years, with dozens of athletes, including Olympic and world championship medalists and young talents competing in youth squads. The previous federation had resigned following a second scandal earlier this year, when five Turkish weightlifters tested positive for doping during the European Under-23 Championships in Israel.
"We gave a lot of advice. We visited them during their camps with our specialists. But unfortunately some habits are deplorable," Taşpınar said, adding that they had been expecting two or three gold medals from among the eight athletes who were suspended.
Taşpınar also insisted that the athletes had taken prohibited substances before they were selected. "We are taking samples both during competitions and preparation camps. We are not compromising [on doping]. We will prevent it," he said, adding that they were preparing a new regulation in which coaches would also be held responsible for the doping of their athletes in future. "We have to be successful, there is no other way."
Turkey's first medals in the games came in the weightlifting branch nevertheless, with Bünyamin Sezer winning one gold and one silver in the men's 62kg competition.
Two Olympic gold medalist athletes, hurdler Nevin Yanıt and 1,500-meter runner Aslı Çakır Alptekin were also left out of the games due to their doping issues. The star athletes were also suspended from international competitions by the International Association of Athletics Federation.