The Independent Members Federation Sanctions Panel of the International Weightlifting Federation has come down hard on Malaysia and Thailand for doping scandals which effectively rules their weightlifters from competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The Tokyo Olympics will be held next year from July 23 to August 8, 2021 – postponed from the original dates (July 24-Aug 9, 2020) due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The IWF in a statement on Saturday said that weightlifters from the two countries “shall not compete at the Tokyo Olympics” regardless of the change of date.

Both, the Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association (TAWA) and the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) have also been suspended as members of the IWF. TAWA is suspended for three years until April 1, 2023, while MWF was slapped with a one-year suspension till April 1, 2023.

Despite that, the Thai and Malaysian Federations can appeal the IWF ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) within 21 days.

MWF president Datuk Ayub Rahmat said it will deliberate extensively on the matter as it involves high costs but will nevertheless give due consideration before deciding.

“IWF acted on past cases…previous cases,” said Ayub who took over the post in mid-2018 and has done a lot to clean up the doping mess in weightlifting in Malaysia.

Malaysia is paying a heavy price when three of their weightlifters were caught doping in a calendar year.

In announcing the sentences against Malaysia and Thailand, the panel said the suspensions will not start to run during the period when all IWF events are canceled or postponed because of COVID-19. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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