2nd September 2019

RusAF disqualifies two judges for shaving finishing times

The Russian athletics federation (RusAF) has sanctioned the Chief Judge and Chief Secretary of the 2019 Irkutsk Memorial Athletics (Мемориала иркутских легкоатлето) event, after it was discovered that hundredths of a second had been shaved off the times of athletes the Judge coached. Vasily Shkurbitsky (Василия Шкурбицкого) has been sanctioned with a one year ban from judging any athletics competitions, after athlete Maxim Karamashev (Максим Карамашев) found evidence that Shkuritsky shaved the times of his athletes on nine occasions. 

‘The question of nationwide withdrawal of Shkuritsky’s status as a Sports Judge will be discussed at the next meeting of RusAF’s leaders, which will be held on 10 October’, read a statement. It did not mention whether Shkuritsky would be prevented from coaching athletes. On 16 August, the Task Force appointed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to asses whether RusAF has met the conditions required for reinstatement into international competition, received assurances from RusAF that it had put sufficient safeguards in place to guard against athletes working with banned coaches.

The statement also announced that Oksana Bulakh, (Оксану Булах), the Chief Secretary of the event, has been sanctioned with a one year ban from judging any competitions that fall under RusAF’s jurisdiction. The male and female cross country results in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m have been cancelled, and the athletes involved in these events have been excluded from RusAF’s 2020 calendar.

RusAF’s statement doesn’t mention whether its investigation found that the athletes were aware that their times were being shaved by Shkuritsky in order to improve their results. RusAF began its investigation last month, based on evidence and allegations detailed in full on the ‘Sboberg’ athletics community page, created by Karamashev on the Vkontakte social network. In 2016, Karamashev lost out to Dmitry Shlyakhtin (Дмитрий Шляхтин) to replace Valentin Balakhnichev (Валентин Балахничёв) as President of RusAF. 

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