Weightlifting: Drug cloud over male lifter

The Age
July 14 2004

Drug cloud over male lifter
By Roy Masters

The Australian Olympic Committee believes Australia’s sole male
weightlifter nominated for the Athens Olympics, Sergo Chakhoyen, went
into hiding for three-and-a-half months before finally being
drug-tested in Armenia last Thursday.

Acknowledging difficulties in obtaining details of Chakhoyen’s
overseas address, AOC president John Coates said: “Clearly, there
were some issues concerning the provision of his whereabouts
information and we should wait for the results of these tests.”

The AOC has deferred an announcement on Chakhoyen’s selection in the
team for the Games until the tests results are known.

The Australian Sports Drug Agency has told the AOC it had asked the
Austrian agency that tested Chakhoyen to expedite the analysis at a
Vienna laboratory, with the test results expected late this week.

Chakhoyen, who represented Armenia at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is
rated No. 1 in the 85-kilogram class and won a gold medal at last
year’s world weightlifting championships in Vancouver, Canada.

He has been an Australian resident since 1997 but returned to
Armenia before Christmas, after briefly stopping in Melbourne to
celebrate his world championship gold medal in the snatch and bronze
medals in the clean and jerk and total.

The AOC sought information on his location following a directive from
the World Anti-Doping Agency that all potential athletes for the
Athens Olympics declare their whereabouts and be tested from March

When the Australian Weightlifting Federation advised the AOC on June
23 that Chakhoyen would be unavailable for competition at the
national championships in Melbourne from June 26 for “personal family
reasons”, the search for Chakhoyen intensified.

The AOC sent a letter to the president of the Australian
Weightlifting Federation, Sam Coffa, on June 24 requesting
information on Chakhoyen’s whereabouts and it took another two weeks
to locate the 34-year-old.

Chakhoyen tested positive at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane in
September 2001 and completed his mandatory two-year suspension last

His Vancouver success was the second time Chakhoyen has been world

He won his weight category while representing Armenia at the 1994
world championships in Turkey.

Chakhoyen finished fifth at the Sydney Olympics representing

Coates reflected concerns over Chakhoyen in a letter to the chief
executive of ASDA, John Mendoza, last Friday.

Coates referred to “recent ASDA concerns regarding the whereabouts
information supplied in respect of weightlifter Sergo Chakhoyen who
was eventually tested in Armenia overnight”.

Chakhoyen has been tested only once in 12 months, before last
Thursday’s test in Armenia.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress