MOSCOW (Reuters) - Eight Russian weightlifters have been banned for breaking anti-doping regulations, the country's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) said on Tuesday.
Denis Shiryakov was banned for life and Maxim Matveyev for four years while six others were suspended for periods of up to two years.
"The Russian weightlifting federation (RWF) banned the eight athletes for breaching anti-doping regulations," the agency said on its website (www.rusada.ru) without giving further details.
Russia has been forced to step up its fight against doping in recent months after being criticized by international anti-doping officials for being too soft on drugs cheats.
Several years ago, the International Weightlifting Federation threatened to ban Russia from competing in major championships after several Russian athletes failed drugs tests.
(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by John Mehaffey)