- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - The International Weightlifting Federation has fined Azerbaijan $500,000 and waived a possible suspension after nine lifters were caught doping last year.

The Budapest-based IWF said on Tuesday in a statement that its executive board decided not to suspend the Azerbaijani federation in order to “maintain its policy not to punish innocent athletes.”

Five male and four female weightlifters failed drug tests in 2013 and most were suspended for two years. Zulfugar Suleymanov, winner of three medals at the European Championships and already suspended for two years in 2010, was banned for life. All nine were caught using anabolic steroids.

The fine has to be paid within six months, and Azerbaijani weightlifters cannot take part in IWF events until it’s paid.

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