Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Russian middle distance runner Kseniya Savina allegedly defied a ban on Russian athletes taking part in international competition eleven times over three years by using a friend’s passport, reports MatchTV. The report alleges that both Savina and another athlete, Galina Syshko, grew up together in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. As such, both athletes were entitled to a Russian passport.
In November 2015, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) due to allegations of systematic doping outlined by the first report of an Independent Commission appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). As a result of this, Russian athletes were prohibited from taking part in international competitions. The suspension remains in force today.
MatchTV alleges that Savina could not use her Russian passport to compete overseas, as she had already been successful in international competitions. However Syshko, who had not been successful in international competitions, had retained her Ukrainian passport. As both athletes are around the same age and look similar (see Instagram photo below), MatchTV alleges that Savina used her friend’s Ukrainian passport to compete in international competitions in Belgium, the Czech Republic and Portugal.
MatchTV’s report includes photographic evidence which it says shows Savina competing (see pictures) in the Netherlands and Belgium. Allegations made by Savina’s husband that a sample was taken from her in Kenya by fake Doping Control Officers (DCO) confirm that she was training overseas, although this does not break any rules.
RusAF told MatchTV that it became aware of the allegations involving Savina during July. It said it had received a letter from the Crimea Athletics Federation stating that it had conducted its own investigation and could not confirm that Savina had been competing under the Ukrainian flag. The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the IAAF to comment, but has yet to receive a reply.
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