Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has formally issued charges against Russian race-walking coach, Viktor Chegin (pictured), who is allegedly behind a number of anti-doping rule violations reported in Russian race-walking. A total of eight Russian race-walkers coached by Chegin have been banned since the start of this year.
‘Viktor Chegin has been informed about a possible violation of the anti-doping rules’, read a 15 July RUSADA statement. ‘The Russian athletics federation [VFLA] has also been informed’. RUSADA said that Chegin has been charged with ‘possession of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method’ (Article 2.6 of the World Anti-Doping Code); ‘Administration or attempted administration to any athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method (Article 2.8 of the Code); and ‘complicity’ (Article 2.9).
Chegin was fired by the Russian athletics federation (VFLA) in 2014, after an investigation by RUSADA which began in July 2014 implicated a Mordovian race-walking centre named after him in a doping case. However, the race-walking centre is still used as an Olympic training centre and it is understood that Chegin has continued to work with athletes, as he is still listed as Head Coach.
Chegin is also under investigation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). In a conference call earlier this year, anti-doping manager Thomas Capdevielle said that the IAAF would wait to see what action would be taken by Russia before deciding to act.
In May, the VFLA issued a four-year ban to race-walker Tatyana Akulinushkina, which followed the disqualification of two race-walkers in March, and five in January. RUSADA issued bans of three years and two months to Olga Kaniskina, Sergey Kirdyapkin and Sergey Bakulin, whilst 2008 Olympic gold medalist Valeriy Borchin was issued with an eight-year ban, and Vladimir Kanaykin was banned for life for second offences. Andrei Ruzavin, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Race Walking World Cup, was issued with a 30-month ban, from 9 October 2014 until 8 April 2017; while Nina Okhotnikova was issued with a two-year ban from 22 January 2015 until 21 January 2017. All were coached by Chegin at some stage in their career.