Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has issued a statement confirming that eight Russian athletes have returned positive tests for banned substances following the re-testing of samples from the London 2012 Olympics.
Last week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that 23 of the 265 London 2012 samples re-tested returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF), as reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative. The ROC said that, following an official notification from the IOC, eight of the 23 positive A samples belonged to Russian athletes.
Interestingly, while the IOC announced that these 23 positive tests had resulted in full AAFs, meaning that both an athlete’s A sample and B sample had tested positive, the ROC announcement said that only the A samples had shown positive results.
If analysis of an athlete’s B sample matches the A sample analysis, then AAFs will be issued to those athletes concerned. The athletes will then be given the chance to explain how a prohibited substance ended up in their system. If they cannot, then an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) will be issued.
The ROC said that it will now cooperate in the IOC’s analysis of the B samples. According to the ROC, in accordance with the IOC’s Anti-Doping Rules and those of the World Anti-Doping Code, it will not disclose the names of the athletes until analysis of those B samples and the start of the subsequent disciplinary procedures.
The news comes just days after it was revealed that fourteen Russians are amongst the 31 retrospective positives announced from the IOC retests of 454 ‘selected’ doping samples taken at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. In this instance the IOC is yet to issue an AAF to any of the 31 athletes as it confirmed that analysis of the athletes’ B samples will only take place at the start of June.
The Beijing 2008 retests show that 7% resulted in positive tests, and 8.7% of those from the London 2012 Olympics. Both sets of retests are higher than the 1% of AAFs typically reported, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 2014 testing figures.
The ROCs respective statements reveal that 35% of the London 2012 retest positives belonged to Russian athletes, compared with 45% of those from the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Russian athletics is currently excluded from taking part in the Rio 2016 Olympics, as its membership of the IAAF has been suspended. The IAAF’s Council meets in Monaco on 17 June where it will be deciding if Russian athletics has done enough to be readmitted.
After the initial announcement of the fourteen Russian positives from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Russia’s Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko told journalists, “I don’t think the IAAF has any grounds not to restore our team to competition for the Rio Olympics.”
However following the London 2012 Olympics doping revelations, Mutko has said that he would be taking ‘full responsibility’. According to Russian news agency TASS, Mutko said ‘I have never avoided taking the blame since I am fully responsible for the development and implementation of the sports policies.
‘In case something goes wrong I bear the full responsibility and do not intend to go into hiding.’
Meanwhile, Russian pole vaulter and two-time Olympic gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva has said that she is getting “increasingly angry” at being “punished because of other people’s mistakes”. Speaking in an interview with Russia Today, Isinbayeva said that it was unfair that Russia was currently suspended from competing at the Olympics, claiming instead that doping is a “global issue” and that if the IAAF failed to “open their eyes and look in other directions”, it would amount to a “a deliberate campaign against Russia”.
According to insidethegames.biz, Isinbayeva said that there was ‘systematic doping’ occurring in other countries, implicating in particular the USA, UK, Germany and Kenya. Last week Isinbayeva told the Press Association that she planned to file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) if she is prevented from competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
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