A 16-year-old weightlifter tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs just days after becoming the youngest female to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Chika Amalaha of Nigeria was awarded the gold medal on Friday after her victory in the 53-kilogram (117 pound) division, the Associated Press reported. A subsequent drug test showed Amalaha tested positive for diuretics and masking agents, substances that would disqualify her from the competition in Glasgow, Scotland.
“In general terms, these substances are on the prohibited list for two reasons -- firstly in weight category sports they can be used to unfairly aid weight loss … and secondly, their use has been reported in attempts to mask the presence in the body of other prohibited substances,” Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper said, according to the U.K. Guardian.
“It shows we have a very robust anti-doping program in place” he added. “It sends a strong message to anybody in any sport that if you go down the path of doping, any substance to enhance performance, they will get caught … it’s an ongoing battle.”
Amahala was suspended Tuesday from the Commonwealth Games, pending a test of her “B”, or backup sample, which will occur Wednesday in London. If the second sample comes back positive for the banned substances -- amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide -- she will be stripped of her gold medal. Both substances are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which said it plans to investigate how such a young person had access to them.
Amalaha set a Commonwealth Games record on Friday by lifting a total of 196 kilograms (432 pounds), snatching 85 kilograms and lifting 111 kilograms in the clean and jerk. Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea earned a silver medal, while Santoshi Matsa of India won the bronze.