23 September 2019

IAAF Council approves RusAF’s continued suspension

The Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) today approved the recommendation of the IAAF Taskforce to continue the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), whose athletes will not be able to compete under a Russian flag at the Doha 2019 IAAF World Championships. Rune Andersen, Chair of the IAAF Taskforce on Russian reinstatement, added that there is a “recurring problem of athletes and local athletics federations working with banned coaches”.

Andersen said that early indications from analysis of the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory and passed to the IAAF’s Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are that there are discrepancies with the data that are “not random”. ‘In many cases, they relate to positive findings that appear in the LIMS database copy provided by the informant (including the ‘disappearing positives’ referenced in the McLaren report) but do not appear in the 2019 copy of the database (or in the underlying raw data and PDFs)’, reads the full Taskforce Report (PDF below). ‘WADA is conducting similar authentication analysis in relation to the rest of the Moscow analytical data provided to it in January 2019 (relating to other sports). The AIU has been advised that WADA has found very similar discrepancies in those data, including in the LIMS database itself and in the underlying raw data and PDFs’.

Andersen also outlined that the AIU has yet to complete its investigation into whether RusAF officials were complicit in forging documentation to help high jumper Danil Lysenko cover up a whereabouts violation. “It clearly cannot be said that this reinstatement condition has been met”, said Andersen. The IAAF’s previous Task Force report clarified that Dmitry Shlyakhtin, President of RusAF, had brought this matter to the IAAF’s attention.

Russian race walking coach Viktor Chegin

The Taskforce Report also reveals that Viktor Chegin (Виктор Чёгин) still held an employment contract with the Sports School of Olympic Reserve in Mordovia (СШОР) until June this year. The race walking coach trained over 20 athletes banned for doping between 2005 and 2015, and the postal address of the СШОР is the same as for the re-named ‘V.M. Chegin Olympic Training Centre for Race Walking’.

His contract was apparently terminated by Russian Minister of Sport, Pavel Kolobkov, following a letter from Andersen. RusAF sanctioned Chegin with a life ban in March 2016, however in April 2018, he was found to still be coaching athletes. 

The Taskforce Report also outlines that ‘multiple athletes’ with entries into the Moscow LIMS database sought entry into the Doha 2019 World Championships as Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANAs). Russian athletes can only apply to compete internationally as an ANA if they can demonstrate:

• That they were not implicated or affected by Russian State doping;
• That they are a member of a Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and have been subject to adequate testing for the previous 12 months.

Earlier today, WADA’s Executive Committee confirmed that WADA had opened a ‘formal compliance procedure’ against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). A statement outlined that it had discovered discrepancies between the LIMS data it retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory in January, and the LIMS data given to it by a whistleblower in November 2017. 

It was known in May that discrepancies with the data had been found. ‘The authentication process is still ongoing for some data, but has already confirmed that a very high percentage of the data collected in the Moscow Laboratory is authentic and matching with the copy of the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) that WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) had acquired through a whistleblower in November 2017’, read a statement. This suggested that not all the data is authentic.

WADA said that it had provided copies of Reports from its Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) department and from independent forensic experts to RUSADA and to the Russian Ministry of Sport. They have been given three weeks to provide a comment as well as answers to specific questions from WADA. Once responses have been received, WADA’s I&I and forensic experts will report back to WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC), which will decide whether to make a formal recommendation to the WADA Executive Committee. 

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