12th April 2019

Sergey Bakulin charged with second doping offence

Russian race walker Sergey Bakulin (бакулин васильевич) has been charged with a second doping offence, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced. The list of provisional suspensions on the AIU’s internet site reveals that Baulkin has been charged with ‘use of a prohibited substance/method’ based on analysis of his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).

Bakulin lost his Daegu 2011 IAAF World Championship 50km race walk title after being sanctioned with a three year and two month ban, which expired on 23 February 2016. Selective annulment of his results originally allowed him to keep his title, however it was stripped following a successful appeal by the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

Bakulin competed in the Russian Race Walking Cup in Sochi during 2016 on return from his ban, where he finished first in the 35km race walk ahead of Sergey Kirdyapkin, who was sanctioned with a three year and two month ban in 2015 following analysis of his ABP. Although Kirdyapkin’s offence related to ABP readings from 2009, selective annulment of his results also allowed him to keep his London 2012 Gold, until the successful appeal by the IAAF.

Kirdyapkin’s estranged wife, Anisya Kirdyapkina, was sanctioned with a three year ban in February this year. Kirdyapkina re-married in 2016 and now takes the name Makolova.

All three athletes were coached by Mordovian race walking coach Viktor Chegin, who was sanctioned with a lifetime ban by the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) in March 2016. Yet he continued to work with Russian race walkers until April last year.

He was filmed training Russian athletes on 27 April 2016 in the town of Adler, 10km from Sochi. Olga Kaniskina, Kirdyapkin and Elena Lashmanova, who all signed an extraordinary letter of support for Chegin earlier that month, were pictured at the training session. 

In May last year, the IAAF revoked the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) status of Klavdiya Afanasyeva, Olga Eliseeva, Yuliya Lipanova, Sergey Sharypov and Sergey Shirobokov, after finding that they had been coached by Chegin at an April 2018 training camp in Karakol in the Kyrgyz Republic.  The five race walkers were prohibited from entering the 2018 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang, China.

Over 20 athletes trained by Chegin between 2005 and 2015 are understood to have been disqualified for doping. Chegin was provisionally suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on 25 August 2014, yet it did not launch an official investigation until 15 July 2015. RusAF did not remove him as Russia’s race walking coach until 16 July 2015.

Chegin was also  spotted coaching athletes at the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August 2014, whilst provisionally suspended by RUSADA. Several of Chegin’s suspended athletes – including Bakulin, Lashmanova and Ekaterina Medvedeva – were spotted competing at the Mordovian race walking championships in December 2014. RusAF attempted to claim that the photos were from a 2012 event, however detective work by Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee uncovered that the shoes and uniforms worn in the photos were not available in 2012.

Until 2016, Chegin gave his name to the Olympic Preparation Centre of the Republic of Mordovia. Today, although the centre has changed its name to the Sports School of Olympic Reserve in Mordovia (СШОР – its Saransk postal address is the same), its internet site heavily references Chegin’s success. 

‘The story of the creation, progress and achievements of СШОР is definitely worth viewing through the prism of the V.M. Chegin Olympic Training Centre for Race Walking’, reads the site. ‘The athletes of the former Centre are now the backbone of СШОР achievements and they brought – and continue to bring – valuable rewards to Russia and Mordovia’. The site then lists the achievements of some of the race walkers he has coached, including Bakulin and Kirdyapkin. Interestingly, it still lists several of his walkers as Olympic or World Champions, with a note that they have been ‘deprived’ at a later date.

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