Liu Chunhong of China competes at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

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15 weightlifters fail doping retests

Three Chinese gold medalists among named

IWF suspends all 15 athletes

CNN  — 

Fifteen Olympic weightlifters, including three gold medal winners from China, have tested positive banned for substances after samples taken at the 2008 Games in Beijing were re-examined, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) revealed Wednesday.

Liu Chunhong, who won gold in Athens in 2004 and Beijing at her home Olympics four years later in the women’s 69kg class, was among the most high profile listed on the IWF website.

Teammates Chen Xiexia, who claimed gold in the women’s 48kg class, and Cao Lei, who won the women’s 75kg event, in 2008 were also named by the IWF.

All tested positive for the GHRP-2 growth hormone substance while Liu’s sample also contained traces of the banned supplement Sibutramine, according to the IWF.

The International Olympic Committee has been re-testing doping samples taken across sports at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

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In total, 11 Beijing medal winners were named by the IWF as having tested positive for banned substances and have been provisionally suspended from the sport.

The athletes were from China, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.

“In line with the relevant rules and regulations, the IWF imposed mandatory provisional suspensions upon the athletes, who remain provisionally suspended in view of potential anti-doping rule violations until their cases are closed,” a statement posted on the IWF website said.

“Following the IOC’s decisions, the IWF will be in a position to take over the results management of these cases.

“Should it be determined in any of the cases that no anti-doping violation was committed, the relevant decision shall also be published.

“The IWF will not make any further comments on the cases until they are closed.”

The Chinese Weightlifting Association (CWA) reacted to the IWF’s announcement by emphasizing its shock at the findings of the re-tests and affirming its strict anti-doping credentials.

“We will follow the relevant IWF and IOC requirements to actively cooperate with the investigation. If violations are confirmed, people found responsible will not be tolerated and will be severely punished in accordance with law,” a statement translated from the CWA website read.

Read: Olympic scandals, then and now

CNN contacted the weightlifting federations of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine and Azerbaijan Wednesday but had yet to receive responses at time of publication.

Russia’s entire weightlifting team was banned from Rio 2016 with the IWF imposing a blanket ban in the wake of McLaren report – the independent investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency – which alleged state-sponsored doping within the country.

CNN’s Steven Jiang contributed to this report.