Six Russian race walkers have been suspended for 4 years after testing positive for EPO.The sanctions were announced Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The six, including 2013 world championship silver medalist Mikhail Ryzhov, all tested positive for blood-boosting EPO in June 2015 at Russia’s national training center in Saransk. And it also implicated the 2014 European bronze medallists Ivan Noskov.
Also suspended were former European championship medalist Stanislav Emelyanov, Elmira Alembekova, Vera Sokolova and Denis Strelkov.
All six tested positive during out of competition tests in June in Saransk, the base for a training facility headed by disgraced coach Viktor Chegin, who is currently under investigation by both the IAAF and the Russian Athletic Federation.
In a statement sent today 14.10.16., the IAAF “confirmed that all six athletes have been charged with a doping offence by the IAAF in July as a result of out-of-competition tests conducted by the IAAF in Saransk in June 2015.”
It added: “All athletes have been provisionally suspended accordingly, the cases have been referred to the Russian Athletic Federation for adjudication in accordance with IAAF Rules.
“The IAAF will not make further comments on these cases until they are concluded.”
Alembekova, a two-time European Cup champion who won gold in the European 20 kilometres race in Zurich in 2014.
Another on the list is Stanislav Emelyanov, the original winner of the 2010 European title before being stripped of that gold last year, who now faces an even lengthier ban if confirmed as being guilty of a second offence.
Also implicated are two 2014 European bronze medallists in Ivan Noskov and Denis Strelkov, as well as 2003 world youth champion Vera Sokolova, who won this year’s European Cup title in Murcia, Spain.
The sanctions were handled by CAS because the Russian track and field federation is currently suspended.
A World Anti-Doping Agency investigation last year found that athletes and coaches had tried to obstruct drug testers from collecting samples during the out-of-competition controls that caught the five. The Saransk center was then under the control of coach Viktor Chegin, who was banned for life in March. More than 25 of his athletes have failed drug tests.
CONSEQUENSES FOR OTHER RACE WALKERS.
There consequently appears no immediate chance of Alembekova being stripped of her continental title, but if she ultimately is, Ukrainian silver medallist Lyudmyla Olyanovska would be expected to be promoted to gold.
Czech Republic’s Anazka Drahotova would shift up to silver, while, because Sokolova placed fourth, Italy’s Eleonara Anna Giorgi could move from fifth to bronze.
More than 25 leading Russian walkers have already been banned in recent years, including three Olympic champions in London 2012 50km walk winner Sergey Kirdyapkin, Beijing 2008 women’s 20km winner and London 2012 silver medallist Olga Kaniskina and Beijing 2008 men’s 20km winner Valery Borchin.
Others banned in January included Sergei Bakulin, the 2011 world 50km champion, and 2011 world silver medallist Vladimir Kanaykin, who has now been banned for life.
As these investigations continued, only one Russian race-walker was entered for last month’s World Championships in Beijing, with the lone entrant, Alexander Yargunkin, ultimately not competing because of a positive doping test for erythropoietin (EPO).
A BLANKET BAN OF THE WHOLE RUSSIAN RACEWALKING TEAM?
Confirmation that six more had failed tests therefore comes as no surprise, with other walkers including Australian Jared Tallent having called for a “blanket ban” on Russian participants.
Regardless of whether such a ban is ever introduced, the team are now anyway in huge disarray.
The news also comes as a World Anti-Doping Agency Commission continues its investigation into allegations of “systematic doping” within Russian athletics. Their full report is due later this year.