24th September 2021

Eight Russian athletes sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has announced eight sanctions for anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) on the day that a Council of Europe Monitoring Group assessing Russia’s compliance with the Council of Europe’s Convention against Doping in Sport left the country. Michael Petrou, the Head of the Cyprus national anti-doping organisation (CYADA) who led the Monitoring Group, noted the “strong commitment of the Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation, Oleg Matytsin, to create a reliable anti-doping system”. 

Russia is one of the major contributors to the Council of Europe’s €496 million annual budget, providing €33.15 million (6.7%). Before yesterday’s announcements, RUSADA had not announced any sanctions after 18 August. It also appears that despite being subject to a ban backdated to 23 July, a Russian rugby player participated in the team that won the 2021 Rugby Europe Beach Tour by beating Spain 9-0 on 12 September.

Diana Magomedova (Диан Магомедову) plays for Russia’s national rugby team and was recently crowned as best player in the Tour, which took place on 11/12 September. She was sanctioned with a two year ban from 23 July under Articles 4.1 and 4.2 of the All Russian Anti-Doping Rules, which allow a reduction in the standard four year ban if an athlete can prove that they were not at significant fault for an ADRV.

Magomedova featured on the team sheet for the 12 September final, despite being banned since 23 July (click to open)…

Yet despite her ban dating from 23 July, Magomedova participated in the final on 12 September, in which Russia beat Spain 9-0. She featured on the team list during Rugby Europe’s broadcast of the match (see right) and participated in the game (see header picture). 

RUSADA’s statement didn’t indicate when Magomedova returned her adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’). However, it is usual practice that in cases where bans are reduced from the four year standard, they are backdated to the date of the AAF. If she reported her AAF on 23 July, then RUSADA and the Russian rugby federation, which celebrated the victory, have questions to answer about why Magomedova was allowed to continue competing. It also appears likely that the Russian women’s team could lose its title, since Magomedova was competing whilst subject to a doping ban.

The other seven sanctions include a Russian wrestler who was upgraded to joint London 2012 Gold; a professional cyclist; a Taekwondo athlete, a weightlifter; a powerlifter; a Paralympic athlete; and a rower. 

Wrestler Bilyal Makhov (Биляла Махова) has been sanctioned with a four year ban from 27 January 2020, which is understood to be the date of his AAF for human growth hormone (HGH). Makhov was upgraded to joint Gold in the 120kg freestyle at the London 2012 Olympics, after retests on samples given by both the finalists returned AAFs for prohibited substances.

Karina Kasenova (Карину Касенову), a professional cyclist who last rode with the Cogeas-Mettler-Look UCI Women’s Team in 2019, was sanctioned with a two year ban from 8 July. Kasenova was also sanctioned under Articles 4.1 and 4.2 of the All Russian Anti-Doping Rules, which allow a reduction in the standard four year ban if an athlete can prove that they were not at significant fault for an ADRV. 

Russia’s 2015 Taekwondo Champion Dmitry Zakrepin (Дмитрия Закрепина) was sanctioned with a two year ban from 9 June 2021 for an ADRV involving an AAF for cannabis. Weightlifter Gennady Muratov (Геннадия Муратова) was sanctioned with a four year ban from 21 May 2020. Muratov won a Bronze Medal in the -105kg category at the 2015 European Championships, and is recognised as a Russian Master of Sport.

Russia’s anti-doping rules appear to ban questioning of why substances are prohibited (click to open)…

Powerlifter Alexei Shchutsky (Алексея Щуцкого) has been sanctioned with a six year ban for violating Articles 4.2 and 4.3 of the All Russian Anti-Doping Rules. Article 4.3 appears to prevent athletes from disputing WADA’s inclusion of a substance on its Prohibited List (see right). Paralympic powerlifter Jamaladina Shangereeva (Джамаладина Шангереева) was also sanctioned with a four year ban for competing while banned. 

Finally, rower Polina Smolenskaya (Полину Смоленскую) was sanctioned with a four year ban from 9 October 2020 for an ADRV involving an AAF for an unnamed prohibited substance. The sanction means that Russia could lose a Silver Medal won in the Lightweight 2x Sculls at the 2020 European Rowing Championships, which took place from 9-11 October.

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