22nd March 2022
The Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ADD) has issued the following decision in relation to the Kazakhstan weightlifter Nijat Rahimov:
1. The request for arbitration filed by the International Weightlifting Federation on 29 April 2021 against Nijat Rahimov is upheld.
2. Nihat Rahimov is found to have committed the Anti-Doping Rule Violation of Use of a Prohibited Method pursuant to Article 2.2 of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules.
3. Nihat Rahimov is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of eight (8) years.
4. The period of ineligibility shall commence from 18 January 2021 which is the date when the provisional suspension imposed on Nihat Rahimov started to run.
5. All competitive results of Nihat Rahimov from and including 15 March 2016 to and including 18 January 2021 are disqualified with all consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes
In January 2021, further to a WADA investigation (“Operation Arrow”) into irregularities in sample collection in the sport of weightlifting, the International Testing Agency (ITA), on behalf of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), served a Notice of Charge on Nijat Rahimov outlining anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) alleged committed by him and provisionally suspended him. Nihat Rahimov challenged the asserted ADRVs and the matter was brought before the CAS ADD on 29 April 2021. Following an exchange of written submissions, the Sole Arbitrator appointed to decide the matter held a hearing by video conference on 26 August 2021. The Sole Arbitrator found Nihat Rahimov to be responsible for four urine substitutions which constitute ADRVs of “Use of a Prohibited Method” under Article 2.2 of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules and for which the Sole Arbitrator determined that the appropriate sanction would be an eight-year period of ineligibility and the disqualification of all competitive results from 15 March 2016 (date of the first disputed sample) to 18 January 2021 (start of the provisional suspension), including the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro (gold medal in Men’s 77kg).