Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Nigeria’s Usman gains, as IOC strips 10 athletes of Olympic medals

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Mariam Usman was Nigeria’s sole weightlifter at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The IOC has elevated her from the fifth position she finished at Beijing 2008 Olympics to third following ban placed on other athletes who tested positive to banned substances.

Eight years after she finished fifth in the weightlifting event at Beijing Olympics, Mariam Usman of Nigeria was yesterday elevated to the third position after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped 10 athletes of medals after banned substances were found during retests of samples from the games.

The IOC says the 10, nine of whom hail from former Soviet nations, had all tested positive for various steroids.

According to no gold medalists were among the 10, though there were three silver medalists from weightlifting and wrestling.

Track and field was also hit, with Greek triple jumper Chrysopigi Devetzi and Ukrainian pole vaulter Denys Yurchenko losing their bronze medals. Yurchenko’s ban could elevate Derek Miles of the United States to the bronze medal position.

Six athletes who did not win medals in 2008 were also disqualified.

There could be another U.S. medal for high jumper Chaunte Lowe, who originally finished sixth but is now in line to inherit bronze.

Among those disqualified yesteray were the athletes who had finished in the two places immediately above Lowe, Russia’s Elena Slesarenko and Ukraine’s Vita Palamar.

The bronze medal position was vacated last month when the IOC said Russian Anna Chicherova had tested positive for the steroid turinabol.

The IOC ruling also casts a shadow over the career of Slesarenko, who was the gold medalist in 2004, though she will not be stripped of that title under yeterday’s ruling.

The three silver medalists affected are Azerbaijani wrestler Vitaly Rahimov, Russian wrestler Khasan Baroev and Kazakhstan weightlifter Irina Nekrasova.

Weightlifting has been by far the worst-hit sport in retests so far and saw nine more athletes sanctioned yesterday, taking the sport’s total for the 2008 Olympics alone to 22.

Other athletes who stand to benefit include Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard, who could move up to the bronze position because of Nekrasova’s disqualification, and Mariam Usman, who would become only the second Nigerian to win a weightlifting medal with bronze after Kazakhstan’s Maria Grabovetskaya was disqualified from third.

Usman debuted on the international scene in 2007, where she took silver in all three categories of the +75 division at the 2007 All-Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria and finished 9th at the World Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She then qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China by winning the +75 kg class at the 2008 African Weightlifting Championships in Strand, South Africa.

At the Beijing Games Usman competed in the +75 kg division and finished fifth.

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