Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, 17, and 16-year-old Bui Dinh Sang, 45 kg female and 61 kg male weightlifters, tested positive for Oxandrolone, an anabolic steroid that promotes the growth of muscle tissue.
The tests following World Anti-Doping Agency regulations were carried out by the International Testing Agency (ITA), which handles anti-doping procedures for IWF.
IWF said Saturday it punished the athletes with a four-year ban starting January 2020 and sent a notice to Vietnam Sports Administration.
Vietnamese lifter Bui Dinh Sang at World Youth Weightlifting Championship in March 2019, in Las Vegas, U.S. Photo courtesy of the International Weightlifting Federation.
At the 2019 World Youth Weightlifting Championship in the U.S., Trang dominated the women’s 45 kg bodyweight category and took all three gold medals (snatch, clean and jerk, and total weight lifted) while Sang won a gold in snatch and a bronze in total weight lifted of 243 kilos in the men’s 61 kg weight class.
The two teen lifters are the latest Vietnamese athletes slapped with doping violations after IWF banned Trinh Van Vinh and Nguyen Thi Phuong Thanh last year for using performance-enhancing drugs in 2018.
Vietnamese weightlifting is therefore at high risk of being banned from Tokyo 2021 Olympics, for which Thach Kim Tuan and Hoang Thi Duyen had already qualified, and Vuong Thi Huyen still needs more points to secure a slot.
IWF announced in April it would test Vietnamese lifters using stricter anti-doping measures, resulting in Tuan, Duyen and Huyen undergoing tests before and after all regional, continental and world tournaments.
As a rule, any country that more than thrice fails doping tests during Olympic qualifiers, which commenced in November 2018, could lose their quota count or be banned from the games.
Two other countries involved in doping charges, Thailand and Egypt, have been banned from the 2021 Olympics.