6 September 2021

Russian triathlon investigating EPO positives

The Russian triathlon federation (ФТР) is investigating, after three national team members were implicated in blood doping through use of exogenous (external or synthetic) erythropoietin (EPO). On 30 August, World Triathlon announced that Alexander Bryukhankov (Александр Брюханков) had returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for EPO from a 19 June 2021 test in Kitzbuhel, Austria, at the 2021 Europe Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships. 

The ФТР announced that Brukhankov, a former Russian champion and two time Olympian, has been expelled from the national team and from his work as part of the ФТР’s presidium. It also announced that his Coaches are being investigated. 

Four days earlier, World Triathlon announced that Vladimir Turbayevskiy (Владимир Турбаевский), another member of Russia’s triathlon team, had been found guilty of blood doping through analysis of his athlete biological passport (ABP). The ФТР has not made an announcement regarding Turbayevskiy.

World Triathlon said that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found evidence of abnormalities in his ABP on three occasions in June and July 2014, as well as during August 2020, all of which indicated blood manipulation. ‘According to the CAS sentence, the Athlete’s ABP profile constitutes clear, compelling, and reliable evidence that the Athlete has committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for “Use”’, reads World Triathlon’s announcement. ‘In particular Sample 2, 3 and 5 are all pathognomonic for the Use and subsequent discontinuation of an erythropoietic stimulant or the recent application of a blood transfusion’. World Triathlon said that it is the first case in World Triathlon or ITU history involving an abnormality in an athlete’s ABP.

On 12 August, World Triathlon announced that Igor Polyanski (Игорь Полянский) had returned an AAF for EPO at a 21 July training camp in Vladivostok ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Again, the ФТР announced that his Coaches are being investigated. 

Both Bryukhankov and Polyanski were coached by Nicolas Romanov until 2016, although there is no suggestion that he is involved as he is no longer listed as a trainer certified by the ФТР. All coaching staff listed on the ФTP internet site were certified after 2017. It is not clear who coaches Bryukhankov and Polyanski at present. 

At the end of the 2017/18 season, it is understood Turbayevskiy was coached by V.A Ivanov, N.V Yatsenko, and S.L Yatsenko. None of the above three coaches feature on the ФTP’s list of 55 verified triathlon coaches.

Ksenia Shoigu…

The situation represents a test for Ksenia Shoigu (Ксения Шойгу), who was elected as the sole candidate to replace Peter Ivanov (Пётр Иванов) as President of the ФTP in December last year. Ivanov departed to become President of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF). 

Shoigu is the daughter of Sergey Shoygu (Серге́й Шойгу́), Russia’s Minister of Defence, and founded Russia’s League of Heroes Obstacle Course Race (OCR). In September last year, the League of Heroes and the OCR Federation of Russia were due to host an OCR World Championship event at the Rosa Khutor resort in Sochi, owned by Vladimir Ponatin (Владимир Потанин), a former business partner of Mikhail Prokhorov (Михаи́л Про́хоров), former President of the Russian Biathlon Union. 

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