Talha Talib returns positive dope test: reports

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LAHORE: Unconfirmed reports on Friday said Olympian Talha Talib was among two Pakistani weightlifters who returned positive samples in dope tests conducted by the International Testing Agency (ITA).

The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) told Dawn they had no confirmed information about the development, while the Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) did not answer any queries.

According to the reports, four Pakistani weightlifters were tested for samples by the ITA in coordination with the International Weight­lifting Federation recently.

Talha was training at his gym in Gujranwala when ITA officials paid a surprised visit to collect his samples while the other lifters were tested in Lahore.

When contacted by Dawn POA general secretary Khalid Mahmood and PSB director general Asif Zaman said they had received no official information regarding the tests.

Khalid said the ITA would send the confirmation of the test results to the IWF and PWF directly.

“It is the athletes’ prime duty to be careful and avoid the usage of banned substances,” said Asif.

“The coaches and federations also have a responsibility in this regard.

“The PSB is seriously considering to conduct surprise dope tests of athletes who are currently attending training camps to participate in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.”

Talha, narrowly missed out winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, made it to the Games after securing an invitational spot offered by the Tripartite Commission.

Later, in the World Weightlifting Champ­ionship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Talha finished third on the podium.

His spectacular rise to the very top level of the sport may well have urged the ITA to run a test on the 22-year-old.