20th August 2019

RusAF investigates coach & judge for shaving finish times

The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) has opened an investigation into Vasily Shkurbitsky (Василием Шкурбицким), a Coach in the Irkutsk region, for shaving hundredths of a second from the times of his athletes. Shkurbitsky was a Judge at the 2019 Irkutsk Memorial Athletics (Мемориала иркутских легкоатлето) event, which took place 3-4 August. By requesting the official times from RusAF and comparing them with initial reports, athlete Maxim Karamashev (Максим Карамашев) found evidence that Shkuritsky shaved the times of his athletes on nine occasions.

The evidence and allegations are detailed in full on the ‘Sboberg’ athletics community page, created by Karamashev on the Vkontakte social network. As there is no evidence that the athletes were aware of – nor involved with – the shaving of their times, The Sports Integrity Initiative has decided not to republish their names. In 2016, Karamashev lost out to Dmitry Shlyakhtin (Дмитрий Шляхтин) to replace Valentin Balakhnichev (Валентин Балахничёв) as President of RusAF. 

The situation is likely to raise questions as to why an athletics coach was allowed to judge a competition in which his athletes were competing. 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.

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