24th April 2019

Coach first to be charged with doping offence under Russian Criminal Code

A coach has become the first Russian to be charged with inducing athletes to use banned substances in sport under Russia’s Criminal Code. A doctor has also been banned from working with athletes for recommending use of meldonium, which features on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List, and two Russian athletes have been sanctioned for doping. In addition, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has said that it cannot allow Doping Control Officers (DCOs) to telephone athletes during the last five minutes of a testing window, if they have been unable to locate them, as requested by the Athletes Commission of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

RUSADA said a preliminary investigation found that a powerlifting coach had chosen three promising athletes and had convinced them to use prohibited substances, after which he administered weekly testosterone injections from October 2017 to January 2018. In cooperation with law enforcement, the anti-narcotics division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Arkhangelsk region arrested the coach and seized prohibited substances. 

RUSADA announced that the case was the first in which criminal charges had been filed under Article 230.1 of Russia’s Criminal Code. Russia criminalised the supply of prohibited substances to athletes in 2016.

RUSADA also announced that a St. Petersburg-based doctor has been banned from working with athletes, after recommending the use of meldonium to a minor athlete. The athlete refused to use meldonium and told the doctor that its use was prohibited in sport. 

The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) announced that long jumper Elena Mashinistova (Елена Машинистова) has been sanctioned with a one year ban after returning an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for hydrochlorothiazide. Mashinistova’s ban will run from 31 October 2018, the date of her AAF. Mashinistova gained approval to compete internationally as an Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) in July last year, however her International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) profile appears to indicate that she has only competed domestically.

RusAF also announced that shot put athlete Ruslan Khalikov (Халиков Руслан) has been sanctioned with a six month ban after testing positive for the same substance. His ban will run from 28 November last year, the date of his provisional suspension, to 27 May 2019, and his result from the Ural Federal District Championships, held in June last year in Chelyabinsk, will be annulled.

RUSADA also confirmed that it cannot accept a request to allow DCOs to phone athletes during the last five minutes of a testing window, if they cannot locate them. The request was made by the Athletes Commission of the ROC on 19 April, and was denied by RUSADA on 22 April. Under WADA’s International Standard for Testing & Investigations (ISTI – p97), sample collection authorities such as RUSADA have the discretion as to whether DCOs can phone athletes during the last five minutes of their testing window, if they cannot locate them. 

“Some time ago, we contacted WADA with a request about the potential for telephone alerts for athletes during the last five minutes of the 60-minute time slot”, said RUSADA Deputy Director General, Margarita Pakhnotskaya (Маргарита Пахноцкая), in a statement. “The answer was that the International Standard allows such an opportunity, but leaves it to the discretion of the testing organisation. According to WADA, RUSADA should not yet change its methods of anti-doping testing, in which it has been guided in recent years. These strong recommendations were due to Russia’s past serious problems in the fight against doping.”

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