Paris: Weightlifting's governing body has put Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus on notice that they face being banned from the Rio Olympics over repeat doping offences.
North Korea was among four other nations facing sanctions over the use of banned substances as the sport seeks to clean its image.
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) action could not have come at a worse time for Russia whose track and field athletes have been suspended from the Rio Games in August.
The IWF executive announced this month that 20 suspicious cases had been found in retests of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London.
Its executive decided at a meeting on Wednesday that countries with three or more failed tests among the suspicious cases would be banned for a year. It named Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as the countries facing suspension.
A final decision will be taken after the International Olympic Committee confirms whether the second samples from the weightlifters were also positive.
The IWF executive also "expressed disappointment" at the appointment of Russian weightlifting chief Sergey Syrtsov as head of the European Weightlifting Federation's anti-doping commission.
"Given the current environment, the IWF executive board strongly suggests that Mr. Syrtsov and the European Weightlifting Federation reconsiders the appointment to this particular position," said a statement.
The IWF has already banned Bulgaria from the Olympics for doping.
It has ordered additional sanctions on North Korea, Romania, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova because of repeat doping cases during the qualification period for the Olympics. This could affect the number of weightlifers they can send to Rio.