10 June 2020

Five athletes from Russia implicated in doping cases

Five athletes from Russia have recently been implicated in doping cases. A high jumper and a skier have been sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs), and three weightlifters have been provisionally suspended after returning adverse analytical findings (AAFs – or ‘positive tests’) for metabolites of Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. This anabolic, androgenic steroid , also known as Turinabol, was one of the drugs of choice utilised in Russia’s State doping programme and it is understood the new AAFs are a result of reanalysis of samples collected in 2015.

Alexander Shustov (Александр Шустов), Gold medal winner in the high jump at the Barcelona 2010 European Championships, has been sanctioned with a four year ban. Shustov was sanctioned for ‘use or attempted use of a prohibited substance’ following a decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) announced. The CAS Decision on Shustov’s case (2019/O/6156) has yet to be publicised. RusAF said that Shustov’s ban would run from 5 June 2020 until 5 June 2024. 

It is understood that despite having retired in 2017, Shustov plans to appeal. “At the hearing, the lawyers immediately told me that the decision would most likely not be in our favour and we would appeal, because the Arbitrator considering the case was set up for an indictment”, he told RSport. “Everything will be disputed. I will fight for my honest name.”

Alexandra Kustova (Александра Кустова) has been sanctioned with an 18 month ban for violating Article 2.4 of the All Russian Anti-Doping Rules, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) announced. Ski-jumper Kustova has been banned for a violation of ‘whereabouts’ rules, which require athletes who are members of a Registered Testing Pool (RTP) to indicate a location other than their overnight accommodation where they will be available for testing for one hour in every 24.

Any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures in a 12 month period is equivalent to an ADRV, and is subject to a two year ban which can be reduced down, dependant on the circumstances. Kustova’s ban began on 27 November 2019 and will expire on 28 June 2021. 

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced the provisional suspension of David Bedzhanyan (Дави́д Беджаня́н) and Oleg Chen (Олег Чен), both of which have been provisionally suspended due to ‘another potential anti-doping rule violation’ since 12 August 2019. The two, who have won Gold medals at European weightlifting championships, were amongst five Russians provisionally suspended due to evidence from Richard McLaren’s two Reports into Russian State doping.

The third Russian, Nadezhda Evstyukhina (Надежда Евстюхина), had also been previously provisionally suspended, but from 16 August 2019. She and six others were added to the five provisionally suspended by the IWF at a later date, meaning 13 Russian weightlifters were provisionally suspended based on evidence in Richard McLaren’s two Reports for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The IWF doesn’t comment on cases in progress, however only two feature on the IWF’s list of sanctioned athletes, and that is because of prior offences.

They are Dmitry Lapikov (Дмитрий Лапиков), who served a ban ending on 13 May 2013 and Evstyukhina, who served a two year ban expiring on 17 June 2018. This ban was due to her being stripped of a Bronze medal won in the 75kg category at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, after a retest of her sample returned an AAF for Turinabol and erythropoietin (EPO). In December 2018, it emerged that she and eleven other athletes had not returned their Olympic medals, as ordered by the IOC.

It is understood that the three new AAFs, relating to athletes already provisionally suspended by the IWF, relate to retests of samples taken at the 2015 Russian national championships. However, it appears that the IWF hasn’t dealt with the 13 Russian AAFs identified through McLaren’s evidence last year. Perhaps it has had other things going on.

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