24th March 2016

CAS upholds IAAF appeals against Russian sanctions

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) today upheld an appeal by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) against sanctions issued to five Russian race walkers and a steeplechase specialist by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). The IAAF had challenged the RUSADA decisions which it felt were based on a ‘selective’ annulment of competitive results, which it argued was not in line with the World Anti-Doping Code.

All of the race walkers were disqualified by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in January 2015. However, as reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative at the time, some of the bans appeared to have been engineered to either allow athletes to compete, or keep medals won.

Although Olga Kaniskina and Sergey Kirdyapkin’s offences related to athlete biological passport (ABP) readings from 2009, their sanctions were only backdated to October 2012. This allowed Kirdyapkin to keep his London 2012 gold medal in the 50km walk and Kaniskina to keep her silver medal she took at the 20km race walk. The CAS decision annuals Kaniskina’s and Kirdyapkin’s results from 20 August 2009 to 15 October 2012, meaning both athletes will lose their London 2012 medals.

Valeriy Borchin’s eight-year ban for a second doping offence originally ran from October 2012, allowing to keep the 20km race walk title he won at the 2011 Daegu IAAF World Championships. The CAS decision annuls his results from 14 August 2009 to 15 October 2012, meaning that he will lose his 2011 title.

Sergey Baulkin’s three years and two months ban originally ran from Christmas Eve 2012, which allowed him to retain the World Championship 50km title he won in Daegu 2011. The CAS decision means that he will lose all results from 25 February 2011 until 24 December 2012, meaning he will lose his 2011 title.

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Vladimir Kanaykin was originally banned for life for a second doping offence, however his results were initially only annulled between 25 January 2011 and 25 March 2011, and between 16 June 2011 and 27 September 2011. This allowed him to keep the silver medal he took in the 20km race walk at Daegu 2011 and the bronze medal he won during the 2012 World Race Walking Cup in 2012. His results from 25 February 2011 until 17 December 2012 are now annulled, which means he will lose both medals. The CAS also reduced his ban to eight years from 17 December 2012.

Steeplechase specialist Yuliya Zaripova was banned for two years and six months in January 2015, however the RUSADA decision only annulled her results from 20 June 2011 until 20 August 2011, and from 3 July 2012 until 3 September 2012. That allowed her to keep the gold medal she won at Daegu 2011. Her results are now annulled from 20 July 2011 until 25 July 2013, which means she will also lose the gold medal (pictured) she took at the 3,000m steeplechase at the London 2012 Olympics.

The CAS decision means that the IAAF will have to reallocate a number of medals from various events. ‘The CAS is unable to comment on the corrections in the various rankings which may be affected by the present decision and the possible re-allocation of medals, titles, awards or prizes, as this is a matter for IAAF to determine’, read the CAS release. The IAAF has yet to comment.

Kaniskina (pictured), Kirdyapkin, Baulkin, Borchin and Kanaykin were all coached by Viktor Chegin, whom the IAAF has recommended be banned for life. As reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative, Chegin continues to give his name to the Russian Olympic race-walking centre in Saransk, and until July this year was still listed as its head coach.

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