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Teen weightlifter stripped of Commonwealth gold

Friday - 8/1/2014, 2:38pm  ET

ROB HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -- A 16-year-old Nigerian weightlifter was stripped of her Commonwealth Games gold medal on Friday because of a positive doping test, a case that raised concerns about how such a young athlete had access to banned substances.

Chika Amalaha tested positive for diuretics and masking agents after winning the 53-kilogram (117-pound) division last week, becoming the youngest female to win a weightlifting title at a Commonwealth Games.

The gold now goes to Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea.

Amalaha was initially suspended on Tuesday after the "A'' sample tested positive for amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide, which are both banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

After Amalaha's backup "B'' sample also came back positive, Commonwealth Games officials held a hearing into the case on Friday.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said Amalaha did not contest the findings. She was disqualified and returned her medal.

"It is strict liability," CGF President Prince Imran Tunku of Malaysia, who chaired the hearing, told The Associated Press. "Once the tests are positive the only thing we can do is follow the rules."

Asked whether Amalaha offered any defense, Prince Imran said: "No."

Amalaha set Commonwealth Games records in her weight category with a total of 196 kilograms (432 pounds), breaking the previous mark of 188 kilograms (414 pounds).

With Toua upgraded to the gold, Santoshi Matsa of India moves up to silver and India's Swati Singh to bronze.

"It is sad it is a junior and I hope they will learn from this experience," Prince Imran said. "I think the international federation should look at it carefully and see whether there are mitigating circumstances when it comes to the sanctions."

The World Anti-Doping Agency has said it will look into how Amalaha had access to banned substances, and Prince Imram also wants that explored further.

"Being a junior obviously there must be some culpability from those that are looking after her, whether it is coaches or managers or doctors," Prince Imram said.

He declined to comment on the future of weightlifting, which has been marred by doping cases. Nigeria's weightlifting team didn't compete at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester because of a doping ban imposed in 2001 after four members of the squad failed drug tests.

Four years ago in New Delhi, three Nigerian runners failed doping tests.

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Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris


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