Manipur-based Saikhom Mirabai Chanu clinched a silver medal in the 49 kg weightlifting category at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The event took place on 24 July where she came second to China's Zhihui Hou. Two days after that, on 26 July, ANI reported that anti-doping authorities would test Hou; if Hou fails the test, Chanu will be upgraded to the gold medal. In the report, ANI stated, "She has been asked to stay in Tokyo, and the test will be done. The test is definitely happening," and quoted "a source in the know of developments." The report was published at noon, 1:18 IST.
Boria Majumdar, a sports journalist, shared the same news on Twitter at noon, 12:40 IST, an hour before ANI's report. He wrote, "There is a message in the Indian group in the village that says she is being tested and to watch out what happens. Members of the Indian delegation not saying much!".
Boria Majumdar published an article on the same issue on India Today. He wrote, "While it's a commonplace for Olympic medalists to undergo doping tests, Zhihui's case involves adverse analytical findings, meaning there will be tests to figure out if there is anything adverse in the first sample."
A lot of Indian media outlets carried the news that anti-doping authorities would test Zhihui Hou, and Mirabai Chanu's award might be upgraded. The Economic Times, Business Standard, Times Now, India.com, Republic, The Telegraph, Dainik Jagran, ABP News, Aaj Tak, Hindustan, News18, Outlook, and India TV reported the matter.
Mirabai Chanu stands a chance of medal upgrade because anti-doping authorities would test China's Gold medalist Zhihui Hou.
The Logical Indian fact-checking team verified the claim and found it false.
We found an ANI report published on 30 July. The report states, "Earlier, ANI had reported Zhihui Hou will be tested by anti-doping authorities and if she failed the test, then Chanu stands a chance to be awarded gold. But there has been no testing and it was an inadvertent error while reporting the news. It stands clarified that Hou was not taken for an anti-doping test. Furthermore, there have been no developments from the routine anti-doping procedures that were carried out after the 49kg competition."
We found an Inside The Games (ITG) report published on 30 July. ITG is an Olympic news website that busted this hoax circulated by Indian media outlets. The report states, "A "made-up" story involving weightlifters from China and India has been so widely reported throughout Asia that it has led to claims of athletes from three nations being involved in medal reallocations. The story appears to have emanated from Asian News International, which has 100 bureaus and labels itself "Asia's premier news agency"."
The report also affirms that the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Testing Agency (ITA) had no knowledge of the matter. The report quotes an ITA official saying, "Do not know where it started but we follow, as always, the strategy to transparently state any developments on our website." Also, an official from the Chinese Weightlifting Association described the Indian reports as "made-up."
We looked for some updates on ITA's website and found no update on Zhihui Hou's second anti-doping test.
Hence, we conclude that Mirabai Chanu's medal up-gradation news was misinformation carried by several Indian media outlets without verification.
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