Ilya Ilyin, of Kazakhstan, celebrates after setting a new world record and winning gold medal in the Men's 94kg Weightlifting final on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

Ilya Ilyin, stripped of Olympic gold medals at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012, will return to the sport in June and is aiming to compete at Tokyo 2020.

Ilyin, from Kazakhstan, said, "I’m still young, I’m 29 years old, at the height of my sporting career. 

"I really want to return to the sport – this is my priority.”

He spoke of his desire to return to competition as soon as possible, though Kazakhstan is suspended from weightlifting until next October and Ilyin's hopes of competing in the Asian Games in Indonesia in August seem sure to be dashed.

"If I win, I’ll go further," he told the website. 

"I’m very happy that this has all finally passed."

The Weightlifting Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan (WFRK) announced the news of Ilyin’s suspension yesterday.

Ilyin was suspended for two years from June 10 in 2016, said WFRK, which had supported all eight of its athletes who tested positive in the retesting of samples from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, conducted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The WFRK had worked with lawyers, sports law specialists and laboratory analysts in contesting the retest findings, it said, and because of their support Ilyin "has managed to keep all his non-Olympic achievements, prizes and awards".

Ilyin, who set many world records, was a world champion four times, a double Asian Games winner, and a multiple world weightlifter of the year.

Ilya Ilyin will return to weightlifting in June and is aiming to compete at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Ilya Ilyin will return to weightlifting in June and is aiming to compete at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

He last competed in December 2015, at the President’s Cup in Grozny, Russia, where he broke two world records at 105kg, the weight at which he would have competed at Rio 2016 had he not been suspended.

His image is used to promote the WFRK’s website despite the positives, and he remains close to the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In an interview for the Kazakhstan edition of Men’s Health in November, Ilyin said he had suffered depression during the summer, when he was going through a divorce from his wife and had been constantly talking to lawyers in Switzerland.

"It was very difficult, I had a very heavy head," he said.

On Sunday he said: "To all the people who supported me, I am very grateful. 

"Thanks to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the people, the Weightlifting Federation, we did a good job."

In recent months Ilyin has spent a lot of time in the United States and London, improving his English and giving informal advice to recreational weightlifters.

Four of the eight Kazakhs who were positive in the IOC retests won gold medals, all of them subsequently disqualified: Ilyin - twice at 94kg - plus London 2012 women’s winners Zulfiya Chinshanlo at 53kg, Maiya Maneza at 63kg, and Svetlana Podobedova at 75kg.

Two of the eight were positive at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012 - Ilyin and Maneza, who did not make a total in 2008.

Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo is among several weightlifters stripped of medals after retests after London 2012 ©Getty Images
Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo is among several weightlifters stripped of medals after retests after London 2012 ©Getty Images

Maneza, 32, and Chinshanlo, 24, were also banned for two years, announced in May, but Pobobedova had an eight-year ban, having tested positive in 2006 when she competed for Russia.

The standard ban for retest positives appears to be two years, while athletes who have been sanctioned for other offences by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) face longer suspensions.

News of Ilyin’s return comes five days after the IOC put weightlifting "on probation", and called for a further report on progress in its battle against doping in the sport.

Weightlifting provided 49 positives in the IOC’s retests, 10 of them from Kazakhstan, which is one of the nations identified by the IWF as a "high-risk" country that has "historically featured a disproportionately high incidence of doping".

The IWF was asked last June to deliver a first report to the IOC by December, which it did 12 days ago. 

It must provide another by June.

The IWF has adopted a new, hardline approach that includes the handing over of its anti-doping programme to an Independent Testing Authority.

Tamas Ajan, the IWF president, said last week: "We have started a new chapter in weightlifting’s history and there is no looking back.

"In the period between now and the IOC Executive Board meeting in July 2018 and beyond, the IWF will continue to introduce every possible measure to protect clean weightlifters."