17 June 2019

RUSADA finds seven athletes working with banned coach

An investigation in the Kyrgyz Republic has found seven athletes working with a coach subject to a life ban, including members of the national athletics team, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) announced. The coach involved is Vladimir Kazarin (Владимир Казарин), who was sanctioned with a life ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in April 2017. 

Kazarin was coach to Mariya Savinova (Мария Савинова), who was sanctioned with a four year ban by the CAS in 2017, after her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) revealed she had been doping for over three years. In a 2015 documentary, Savina was recorded confessing to using human growth hormone (HGH) and Kazarin was recorded confessing to supplying athletes with drugs such as oxandrolone and erythropoietin (EPO) through ‘micro-dosing’ to avoid detection.

In June last year, the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) reminded athletes not to work with Kazarin. On 12 January 2017, Kazarin was pictured at an indoor training camp with 400 m runner Artyom Denmukhametov (Артем Денмухаметов) and 800m runner Natalia Danilova (Наталья Данилова). It was alleged that Kazarin is not listed as Denmukhametov’s coach when results are reported, in order to make it appear as if his is not involved.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) confirmed that Denmukhametov has been provisionally suspended for working with Kazarin (see tweet below). The AIU confirmed that the action against the 400m runner, who had hoped to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, was taken following a joint investigation with RUSADA.

RUSADA’s statement said that Denmukhametov was already being investigated by the AIU. It added that due to target testing as part of the investigation, another athlete had been sanctioned with a four year ban after testing positive for a prohibited substance. It also said that it has opened cases into a number of other possible violations of anti-doping rules. None of the athletes involved were named.

RusAF also confirmed that its Vice President, Andrey Silnov (Андрей Сильнов), has voluntarily resigned due to a ‘possible breach of anti-doping rules’. Silnov confirmed that he was being investigated by the AIU in an interview with State news agency TASS. He won high jump gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and Silver at the Istanbul 2012 IAAF World Championships. 

He was coached by Yevgeniy Zagorulko (Eвгений Загорулько), who also coached Anna Chicherova (Анна Чичерова) and Ivan Ukhov (Иван Ухов). Chicherova was stripped of her bronze medal from the Beijing 2008 Olympics after a positive test for turinabol, and Ukhov was sanctioned with a four year ban in February this year, after being implicated as having used desoxymethyltestosterone (DMT) in the reports into Russian State doping produced for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by Richard McLaren.

Last week, A Reuters reporter witnessed Vladimir Mokhnev (Владимир Мохнев), who was sanctioned with a ten year ban by the CAS in 2016, giving instructions to seven athletes and recording their times. An investigation by the news agency also found that Valery Volkov (Валерий Волков), sanctioned with a four year ban in August 2017, is also working with athletes. Reuters also found that Dr. Sergei Portugalov (Сергей Португалов), sanctioned with a lifetime ban in March 2017, has given advice on nutrition and training at a Moscow gym.

Last month Yuriy Ganus, President of RUSADA, wrote an Open Letter to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) calling for the replacement of RusAF management. Last week, RusAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin (Дмитрий Шляхтин) suggested that comments from high jump Mariya Lasitskene (Мария Ласицкене) supporting Ganus’s stance risked jeopardising the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) status that allows Russians who have been tested outside of Russia and are untouched by State doping to compete internationally, despite the IAAF’s upholding of RusAF’s ban.

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