Features 19th December 2018

Three sanctioned for doping as Russians fail to return Olympic medals

Two Russian track and field athletes and one powerlifter have been sanctioned for doping offences, after it emerged that Russian athletes have not returned any Olympic medals during 2018. The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) confirmed that it had sanctioned 23 year old sprinter Julia Malueva (Юлия Малуева) with a four year ban and junior athlete Vsevolod Krasnoshchek (Всеволод Краснощек) with a one year ban.

Malueva was sanctioned with a lengthly ban for evading anti-doping procedures and for attempting to tamper with the doping control process. RusAF said that the violations took place on 2 September, at the Russian Relay Championships in the Adler district of Sochi. Her disqualification will run from 12 April 2018, when her hearing was held.

Krasnoshchek was sanctioned with a one year ban after returning an adverse analytical finding for meldonium on 25 January this year at the Russian Youth Championships in Novocheboksarsk, where he placed second in two events. The middle distance runner will be sanctioned from 28 March, the date of his provisional suspension, and his results will be cancelled from the date of the sample.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) confirmed that the Russian powerlifting federation (FPR) has sanctioned Svetlana Gultyaeva (Гультяеву Светлану) with a nine month ban from 3 May 2018. No details were available on either the RUSADA or the FPR site about the details surrounding the 46 year old’s ban.

Return of medals

Meanwhile, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has said that despite receiving another reminder from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), not a single Russian athlete disqualified for doping has returned an Olympic medal this year. “The IOC has sent the ROC a letter requesting the return of all medals from those disqualified for anti-doping rule violations at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, and has attached a list with names”, Alexandra Brilliantova (Александра Бриллиантова), head of the ROC’s Legal Department, told TASS.

Brilliantova said that the IOC letter outlined that the ROC had until 24 December to inform Russia’s national federations that medals from the listed athletes must be returned, which it had done. The letter also asks the ROC to take “all steps to facilitate the return of medals”, Brilliantova told the State news agency. She added that no medals have been returned since Anna Chicherova returned her medal in autumn 2017, after her appeal against the disqualification of her Beijing 2008 high jump bronze medal was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

It is understood that the letter includes the following athletes as failing to return their medals following disqualification by the IOC:

• Mariya Savinova-Farnosova;
• Tatiana Lysenko (Beloborodova);
• Evgeniia Kolodko;
• Mariya Abakumova;
• Tatyana Lebedeva;
• Alexander Zubkov;
• Alexey Voivod;
• Khadzhimurat Akkaev;
• Nadezhda Evstyukhina;
•  Marina Shainova;
• Svetlana Tsarukaeva;
• Natalia Zabolotnaya.

A RusAF spokesperson told TASS that it had informed the athletes concerned, and some had refused to return their medals, others claimed to have lost them, and others did not respond to attempts to contact them. A similar story emerged from the Russian weightlifting federation (FTAR). Alexander Kishkin, its Executive Director, told TASS that the FATR lacks any leverage to force the athletes to return their medals, as many have retired.

Tatyana Lebedeva was sanctioned by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in September this year. Reanalysis of a sample given at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where she took Silver in the Long Jump, returned an AAF for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (turinabol). She has said that she will not give her medal back, as she does not accept the result.

“I did not admit having used performance enhancing drugs”, she told SovSport. “That sample could be contaminated or may have experienced other issues. From the time of the competition to the time of the hearing, the sample was held for eight years. Once again, I would like to clarify that I do not recognise use of illicit drugs. I agree that questions could arise. I have argued that the metabolite discovered similar to that produced by turinabol, which was discovered in my sample, was not there because I used prohibited substances.”

In February 2017, RusAF warned 19 Russian athletes then disqualified from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics to return 23 medals won, including 11 belonging to relay teams. Along with Chicherova, it is understood that Alexandra Fedoriva, Natalya Antyukh and Anton Kokorin have retuned Olympic medals, meaning that at least 15 athletes falling under RusAF’s jurisdiction alone have yet to return Olympic medals.

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