6th April 2020

Ukrainian race walker ban means team medals may be reallocated

Nazar Kovalenko (Назар Коваленко) has been sanctioned with a three year ban from 9 March 2017, the Ukrainian Athletics Federation (ФЛАУ) announced. The Global List of Ineligible Persons (PDF below), produced by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics reveals that the sanction was due to analysis of his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) revealing doping on 11 May 2012, the day before Kovalenko finished fifth in the 20km at the World Race Walking World Cup in Saransk, Russia.

Kovalenko’s ban expired on 8 March 2020, meaning he is now eligible to compete. The qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 20km Race Walk ends on 29 June 2020, and athletes must achieve a time of 1:21:00 to be eligible. Due to the cancellation of many events due to Covid-19, it is not known whether that qualification period will be extended.

As Kovalenko was a member of the Ukraine 20km race walk team, the annulment of his results from 11 May 2012 until 17 May 2015 means the team may lose two Silver and one Bronze medal, depending on how the scores are reallocated. The Ukraine 20km team won Silver medals at the 2013 Dudince Race Walking Cup (Poland received the Bronze and Belarus finished fourth) and the 2013 Kazan Universiade (Bronze went to Canada and China finished fourth). 

The AIU has confirmed that the disqualification of results includes 17 May 2015, which means that the Ukraine 20km team may also lose the Bronze it won on that day at the 2015 Murcia European Race Walking Cup. However, it will keep its 20km team Gold medal won at the 2015 Gwangju Universiade, which took place in July.

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