Olympics: Iran doper defends gold, Polish brothers


Iranian weightlifter Sohrab Moradi insisted a previous doping ban did not diminish his gold as he backed two Polish brothers who failed drugs tests in the run-up to Rio.

Moradi on Saturday easily topped the podium in the men's 94kg class just over a year after returning to action following a two-year suspension for testing positive for the painkiller methadone.

"No, I don't accept the idea that it's diminished because someone has doped," an angry Moradi told reporters, insisting that he had always been 100 percent clean.

"My doping ban was unwanted. I don't know why they disqualified me. I just don't know. I didn't know about the painkiller. Yes of course 100 percent (clean)," he added.

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Moradi, who won by 8kg to claim Iran's second weightlifting gold medal of the Rio Games, said he had spent the time out from June 2013 to June 2015 training alone at home in Iran.

"I worked very hard to come back and win. It was very difficult for me," he explained. 1

Iran's gold medallist Sohrab Moradi (C), Belarus' Vadzim Straltsou (silver) and Lithuania's Aurimas Didzbalis (bronze) pose during the podium after the weightlifting 94kg event, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 13 (photo by: Goh Chai Hin/AFP)

Moradi won with a combined total of 403kg. Vadzim Straltsou of Belarus claimed silver on 395 while Lithuania's Aurimas Didzbalis, who has also served a two-year doping ban, took bronze with 392.

The run-up to the competition had been overshadowed by a dop ing scandal after Polish brothers Adrian and Tomasz Zielinski were both withdrawn for failing drugs tests.

Adrian Zielinski, a 2012 Olympic champion, tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone just three days after his brother Tomasz suffered the same fate, Poland's anti-doping committee said Friday.

The drug was detected as the 27-year-old was gearing up for the 94kg competition in Rio.

His brother Tomasz, 25, was also registered for the contest before he also tested positive.

Adrian Zielinski, gold medal winner in the 85kg category at the London Olympics, and European champion Tomasz, have denied any wrongdoing.

"I'm very sad that they're not here," Moradi said of the Zielinskis, who trained for the Olympics individually, outside the framework established by the Polish federation.

"I feel I am a great lifter. I feel also that they worked very hard and they wished to win as well.

"Because I'm a weightlifter I feel for them. Out of competition we are athletes and friends," he added.

Moradi, 27, also backed Kazakhstan's double Olympic champion Ilya Ilyin, who won 94kg gold at London and Beijing.

He had also been due to bid for a third consecutive title, in the 105kg class, before receiving a doping ban in June after samples from the previous two Olympics were retested.

"If Ilyin had been here we would have competed against each other well. I love Ilya. I would have liked him and the two Polish lifters to have been here," he said.

"Every weightlifter is sad after (a positive) doping (test). But every time an athlete has the opportunity to compensate and I established that today."

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