Revaz Davitadze was one of two Georgian weightlifters in the top 20 of the Olympic rankings who has been forced to leave Riyadh following the news ©Getty Images

Two weightlifters from Georgia have been sent home from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Riyadh and are ineligible for Paris 2024 because they failed to weigh in.

Meanwhile the Georgian Weightlifting Federation (GEOWF) has issued a statement about an investigation into suspected "sabotage" that led to doping violations. It does not name either of the two who have left Riyadh.

The GEOWF said it is seeking, via the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to have a provisional suspension of a named athlete, Kakhi Asanidze, lifted.

It said there had been 10 positive samples in suspicious circumstances in three sports - weightlifting, judo and wrestling, collected from the same training facility in Georgia.

The first to leave Riyadh was Revaz Davitadze, a multiple world and European medallist who was in the top 20 of the Olympic rankings and is now out of the men’s 89 kilograms.

Giorgi Chkheidze, a silver medallist at 109kg in last year’s IWF World Championships and the past two European Championships, has gone home before weighing in for the 109kg.

According to information from Georgia, Davitadze has been provisionally suspended for a doping violation by Georgian Anti-Doping Agency, the national anti-doping agency, while Chkheidze suffered a painful muscle tear.

Doping violations dealt with at national level, rather than by the International Testing Agency (ITA), typically lead to the standard four-year suspension but do not count towards the IWF’s "totting up" process than can cost National Federations some or all of their Olympic Games quotas.

Five nations are currently liable to exclusion once cases are closed because, in 2022 or 2023, they have had three or more "international" doping violations within a few months - Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Turkey.

Georgia has had two since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and one more would put them in with the other five.

Chkheidze, 25, is said to have withdrawn because he tore a muscle in training for the non-Olympic 109kg category in which he was due to lift on Saturday (September 16).

Giorgi Chkheidze has reportedly left the World Championships after suffering a painful muscle tear ©Getty Images
Giorgi Chkheidze has reportedly left the World Championships after suffering a painful muscle tear ©Getty Images

Asked why he had not stayed to weigh in, the GEOWF said: "Giorgi Chkheidze suffered a significantly painful muscle tear. He is not a Paris contender."

The "sabotage" statement concerns the positive sample of Kakhi Asanidze, son of Georgia’s national coach Giorgi Asanidze.

It says the banned substance ostarine was detected in Asanidze’s sample in picograms (trillionths of a gram). The same substance was detected in samples taken by ITA and GADA from judokas and wrestlers.

Although "athletes" plural is used in the statement, only Asanidze is named.

The detection of ostarine in a range of samples in the three sports was, the GEOWF says, "grounds to suspect a sabotage, especially in light of very many tests collected by ITA and GADA with negative results in the same period of time".

In co-operation with the Georgian Ministry of Sports, its National Olympic Committee, the Sports Committee of the Parliament and GADA, "the governing bodies have elevated the matter of issue to the Prosecutor's Office" for investigation.

"Kakhi Asanidze and the GEOWF are following the relevant procedures and closely cooperating with all relevant agencies.

"Some legal procedures have already resulted in the initiation of a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing regarding lifting of the provisional suspension for Kakhi Asanidze.

"GEOWF is confident in the innocence of its athletes.

"GEOWF understands that there is a lot of international interest in this matter, however, in the interests of the investigation, it will refrain from further comments until the case is completed and the final verdict is rendered."

International interest in Georgian weightlifting is at a high level because super-heavyweight Lasha Talakhadze, the multiple Olympic and world champion and world record holder, is from Georgia.