25th March 2019

Four Russians sanctioned with doping bans

Three Russian athletes and a boxer have been sanctioned with doping bans ranging from two to four years. The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) announced that Aleksandr Ivanov (Александр Иванов) has been sanctioned with a three year ban from 2 May 2017 due to ‘variations in the blood passport’. Ivanov’s results from 9 July 2012 until 17 August 2014 will be annulled, meaning he will lose a Silver Medal won in the 10km race walk at the Barcelona 2012 World Junior Championships; a Gold Medal won in the 20km race walk at the Moscow 2013 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships; and a Silver Medal won in the 20km at the Zurich 2014 European Championships.

Ivanov was one of a number of race walkers sanctioned for doping who were coached by Viktor Chegin, who last year was found to be continuing to work with Russian athletes despite being subject to a lifetime ban. Until 2016, Chegin gave his name to the Olympic Preparation Centre of the Republic of Mordovia. Today, although the centre has changed its name to the Sports School of Olympic Reserve in Mordovia (СШОР – its Saransk postal address is the same), its internet site heavily references Chegin’s success. 

‘The story of the creation, progress and achievements of СШОР is definitely worth viewing through the prism of the V.M. Chegin Olympic Training Centre for Race Walking’, reads the site. ‘The athletes of the former Centre are now the backbone of СШОР achievements and they brought – and continue to bring – valuable rewards to Russia and Mordovia’. The site then lists the achievements of some of the race walkers he has coached, including Olga Kaniskina and Valeriy Borchin, both of which have been sanctioned for doping. Interestingly, it still lists several of his walkers as Olympic or World Champions, with a note that they have been ‘deprived’ at a later date.

On 31 December 2013, Ivanov became an Honoured Russian Master of Sports. Last year, journalists found that a 2008 decree stripping such titles from athletes and coaches convicted of an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was revoked during 2017, which allowed Alexander Loginov to be awarded the title in July, despite having served a two year ban for doping. As such, it remains unclear as to whether Ivanov will retain his honorary title.

RusAF also announced that Anastasia Kaygorodova (Анастасии Кайгородовой) has been sanctioned with a four year ban from 12 February, after she tested positive for meldonium. The 400m runner tested positive at the Urals District Championships in January, which took place in Chelyabinsk, and her results in that event will be cancelled.

The Boxing Federation of Russia has sanctioned Maria Nikolaenko (Марию Николаенко) with a four year ban for a second violation of anti-doping rules, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) announced. Her ban will run from 4 March 2019.

Finally, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has published the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision (PDF below) to partially uphold its appeal, imposing an additional two year ban on Anna Bulgakova. The hammer thrower was already serving a two year ban as a result of an ADRV involving dehydrochlormethyltestosterone at the Moscow 2013 IAAF World Championships.

The CAS accepted that evidence from Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former Director of the Moscow Laboratory, indicated that she had used additional prohibited substances in the lead up to Moscow 2013. The IAAF gave Bulgakova the opportunity to avoid any additional sanction, if she admitted using the additional prohibited substances by 10 November 2017. Bulgakova argued that she had never used prohibited substances and had never met Dr. Rodchenkov.

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