28th January 2020

RUSADA believes Viktor Chegin in still coaching athletes

The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) is understood to have launched an internal investigation, after the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) received information that banned Russian race walking coach Viktor Chegin (Виктор Чёгин) is still working with athletes. Chegin was spotted, disguised, at a training camp of the Russian national team this month in Sochi, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) Deputy Director, Margarita Pakhnotskaya (Маргарита Пахноцкая), told Sport Express.

RusAF told the newspaper that training activities in Sochi are managed by Russia’s Ministry of Sport, and Chegin doesn’t appear on any official coaching lists. Chegin’s security company, Honor-C (Честь-С) received three contracts from the State worth 8.5 million roubles (€123,000) to manage security at the Sports School of Olympic Reserve in Saransk (СШОР), reported Sports.ru in June last year. This is the same training centre which formerly took Chegin’s name, in honour of its former Head Coach. 

But the Republic of Mordovia terminated the contract before the end of the month, reported Sports.ru. Therefore, RUSADA and RusAF will have to explain whether Chegin was at the national team training event in a coaching or security provision capacity, or both.

A download from the СШОР internet site, which lists Chegin’s company as providing security services…

Chegin’s company is listed as providing security services to the СШОР in a download from 2018 still available on its internet site. Chegin is still listed as an Honoured Coach of Russia on the website, which still references his successes. 

‘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’, it reads. ‘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’. 

Chegin was sanctioned with a lifetime ban by RusAF in March 2016. Yet he continued to work with Russian race walkers until April 2018.

He was filmed training Russian athletes on 27 April 2016 in the town of Adler, 10km from Sochi. Olga Kaniskina (О́льга Кани́ськина), Sergey Kirdyapkin (Серге́й Кирдяпкин), and Elena Lashmanova (Елена Лашманова), who all signed an extraordinary letter of support for Chegin earlier that month, were pictured at the training session.

In May 2018, World Athletics revoked the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) status of Klavdiya Afanasyeva, Olga Eliseeva, Yuliya Lipanova, Sergey Sharypov and Sergey Shirobokov, after finding that they had been coached by Chegin at an April 2018 training camp in Karakol in the Kyrgyz Republic. The five race walkers were prohibited from entering the 2018 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang, China.

Over 20 athletes trained by Chegin between 2005 and 2015 are understood to have been disqualified for doping. Chegin was provisionally suspended by RUSADA on 25 August 2014, yet it did not launch an official investigation until 15 July 2015. RusAF did not remove him as Russia’s race walking coach until 16 July 2015.

Chegin was also spotted coaching athletes at the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August 2014, whilst provisionally suspended by RUSADA. Several of Chegin’s suspended athletes – including Bakulin, Lashmanova and Ekaterina Medvedeva – were spotted competing at the Mordovian race walking championships in December 2014. RusAF attempted to claim that the photos were from a 2012 event, however detective work by Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee uncovered that the shoes and uniforms worn in the photos were not available in 2012.

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