Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Last month, the Anthem Richmond Marathon disqualified its male and female winners and third place female finisher for attempting to disguise that they had worked with a banned agent, in contravention of its rules. ‘The Anthem Richmond Marathon today announced the disqualifications of Julius Koskei, the top male finisher in last Saturday’s marathon, and Firegenet Mandefiro and Gadise Megersa, the first and third-place female finishers in the Markel Richmond Half Marathon’, read a statement. ‘Their disqualification stems from their representation by a banned agent and attempts to hide this representation by the agents and athletes during the elite athlete registration process’.
It is understood that the agent mentioned is Russian Larisa Mikhaylova. Athletes represented by Mikhaylova were banned by a number of US races after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) began an investigation into allegations that she was doping Kenyan athletes to win races in the US. Mikhaylova worked with Lilian Mariita, who was sanctioned with an eight year ban for a second doping offence in December 2015.
Mikhaylova also worked with Jynocel Basweti and Nixon Kiplagat Cherutich, both of whom were suspended for two years following positive tests in 2013. She also worked with Shitaye Gemechu, who became the first Ethiopian to test positive for erythropoietin (EPO) in 2010.
The Sports Integrity Initiative sent questions to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on 21 November asking for confirmation that Mikhaylova is the banned agent. ‘We cannot comment on this at present’, read its reply, sent today.
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