Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
There are currently 61 Athlete Support Personnel (ASP) from Italy that are banned from working with athletes or ‘other persons’, more than half the 114 names featured on a list of banned ASP released by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) yesterday. Russia reported seven ASP currently banned and Turkey five, whilst Canada and the USA reported four currently banned ASP.
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It is unclear why Italy has banned so many ASP – a list of anti-doping rule violations in 2013 released by WADA earlier this year showed Italy as sixth, behind Russia, Turkey, France, India and Belgium. Some of the names stem from historic investigations into doping, such as Michele Ferrari. It is also understood that the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) is proactive in convicting ASP during doping cases, especially now that doping is a criminal offence in Italy.
CONI President Giovanni Malago said that the inclusion of a large number of Italian ASP was a sign that it is doing a good job. “The fact that there are 61 Italians on this list is a matter of pride for us,” he told the Associated Press. “It means we’re doing our job seriously.”
A total of 31 countries reported banned ASP to WADA – 20 reported just one banned ASP, including Australia, Great Britain and Jamaica. Countries notably absent from the list included Kenya, China, India, Greece, Japan, Brazil, Kazakhstan and others. WADA yesterday clarified that only bans it receives notification about are included on the list, which suggests that many countries are not reporting bans to WADA. “WADA compiled the list based on the information provided by Anti-Doping Organisations”, said a WADA spokesperson. “It is the responsibility of the Anti-Doping Organisations to verify the accuracy of the list, including the names included and the end dates of the sanctions”.
It is interesting to note that whilst Viktor Kolesnikov is included on the list of banned Russian coaches, Viktor Chegin is not. Kolesnikov was banned for four years by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) last year, after being found to be in possession of performance-enhancing substances. It is understood that Kolesnikov worked with Chegin at the Russian race-walking centre in Saransk, Moravia.
Chegin has twice been banned from working with Russia’s race-walkers by the Russian athletics federation (VFLA), however he is still being investigated by RUSADA, which perhaps explains why his name is not included. Eight Russian race walkers coached by Chegin at some stage in their career have been banned for anti-doping rule violations in 2015 alone. Chegin gives his name to the race-walking centre in Moravia, where he is still listed as Head Coach.
“For details on why a particular individual is or is not currently on the list, you will need to contact the Anti-Doping Organisation who would have jurisdiction over that individual in that country”, continued the WADA spokesperson. “WADA will update the list quarterly, or more frequently, as information is provided by Anti-Doping Organisations”.
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