Three former Olympic weightlifting champions from China have failed retests of their doping samples from the Beijing 2008 Games, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said on Wednesday.
Beijing gold medallists Cao Lei, Liu Chunhong and Chen Xiexia tested positive for a growth hormone stimulant and face having their medals stripped by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Retests also led to 12 other weightlifters from Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan showing adverse analytical findings.
"In line with the relevant rules and regulations, the IWF imposed mandatory provisional suspensions upon the athletes, who remain provisionally suspended in view of potential anti-doping rule violations until their cases are closed," an IWF statement read.
Weightlifting has been battling a serious doping problem for years and the entire Russian team was barred from the recent Rio Olympics because of state-run doping.
Poland's godl medal hope Tomasz Zielinski was then suspended just before Rio after a positive test while during the Games, Kyrgyzstan weightlifter Izzat Artykov was stripped of his Rio bronze medal for doping.
The IOC is retesting doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games using new techniques to try to catch drug cheats. A host of suspected dopers, including others weightlifters in June and July, have so far been snared.