The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said on Friday that doping samples taken from three-time world weightlifting champion Nadezhda Evstyukhina and two other Russian weightlifters had tested positive for the same banned substance.
The substance, Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone metabolite, is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as an anabolic agent.
The 32-year-old Evstyukhina, who is now retired, has been serving a provisional suspension since August last year for a separate potential violation of anti-doping rules, the IWF said.
In 2016 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped Evstyukhina of the bronze medal she had won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 75kg category after the retesting of her samples showed the presence of the turinabol, an anabolic steroid, and the banned blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO).
The IWF said the samples of Oleg Chen and David Bedzhanyan, who are also serving provisional suspensions for separate potential anti-doping violations, contained the same anabolic agent found in Evstyukhina's sample.
Chen is a three-time silver medallist at the world championships in the 69kg category. Bedzhanyan has won two world silver medals and one bronze in the 105kg category.
Maxim Agapitov, the president of Russia's weightlifting federation, told TASS news agency that the athletes' samples containing the substance dated back to 2015.