MOSCOW (AP) — The IAAF may reanalyze Russian samples from the 2014 world indoor track championships over suspicions that athletes who failed doping tests were allowed to compete.
Messages between then-Moscow laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov and Sports Ministry official Alexei Velikodny, released on Friday as part of World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren’s report into Russian doping, show eight athletes gave suspicious samples the week before they were to travel to the competition in Sopot, Poland.
The samples collected at the national training base near Moscow included three with unusually high testosterone levels, four containing the anabolic agent ostarine, and one containing both ostarine and the banned steroid turinabol.
All were given “save” orders by Velikodny — the command which meant a suspicious sample should be recorded as clean. Rodchenkov, however, responded that some cases would have to be reported positive.
Rodchenkov asked for one sample with a “big” ostarine reading to be given a “quarantine” order, typically meaning it would be treated as a usual disciplinary case, though whether that happened is not documented elsewhere in the McLaren report files.
The fate of another case with a large ostarine reading is unclear, though the details given appear to match with Svetlana Biryukova, a long jumper who was removed from the team shortly before the championships and later banned for two years. Biryukova was the favorite for gold in the long jump and had set the best indoor result of the year.
The identities of the remaining six given “save” orders are unclear, but the events listed for them include some in which Russia won medals in Sopot. It is not clear whether any ever faced disciplinary action.
“We are going through the names we have been given by Prof. McLaren’s team and where we have samples from the relevant period we will reanalyze,” the IAAF said Tuesday in an emailed statement.
Russian officials have not disputed the authenticity of the emails in the McLaren report. Neither Rodchenkov nor Velikodny could be reached for comment.
Russia sent a strong team to the 2014 world indoors, winning three gold and two silver medals to place second behind the United States in the medals table.
The IAAF banned Russia from all international competition in November 2015 after an earlier WADA-commissioned report into the Russian track team alleged widespread drug use and extortion. That ban remains in effect and led to Russia being able to field only one track athlete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
However, in recent months, Russian track officials have said the country could send competitors to the European indoor championships in Belgrade in March if they apply to the IAAF as individuals rather than as representatives of the suspended federation.
“As to competing internationally, the IAAF taskforce was very clear in its last report that Russia still has not met the criteria established for their readmission to membership of the IAAF,” the IAAF said Tuesday. “There is an existing process whereby athletes can apply … to participate internationally as independent neutral athletes.”