24 August 2015

WADA ends Liliya Shobukhova ban early

Russian distance runner Liliya Shobukhova would technically be free to race at the Beijing 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) agreed to end her sanction early for providing ‘Substantial Assistance’. WADA reduced her three year and two month ban – which ran from 24 January 2013 to 23 March 2016 – by seven months, meaning that she is free to compete as of 23 August 2015. She would be able to compete in Beijing, had she been selected by the Russian athletics federation (VFLA) earlier this month.

The IAAF had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to double a VFLA decision to ban Shobukhova (pictured) for two years due to abnormalities in her athlete biological passport (ABP). However, as reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative in May, the IAAF withdrew its request for a hearing. On 30 June, a settlement agreement was reached between the IAAF, WADA, the VFLA and Shobukhova.

‘Ms. Shobukhova approached WADA in May 2014 with a view to providing Substantial Assistance within the meaning of the Code’, read a WADA statement issued today. ‘She accepted from the outset that she had committed an anti-doping rule violation. The information and documentation provided by Ms. Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel. WADA considered the information provided by Ms. Shobukhova to be of significant value to clean sport. As such, WADA has decided to exercise its authority by agreeing to the use of the Substantial Assistance provisions in the 2015 Code [Article; also reflected in Rule 40.7(a)(ii) of Chapter 3 of the IAAF Competition Rules].’

‘Ms. Shobukhova has formally committed to cooperate with WADA in the investigation and, ultimately, the adjudication of cases resulting from the information she has provided. It should be noted that when individuals do not fulfil their obligations under the Substantial Assistance provisions in the Code, WADA has the ability to reinstate reduced periods of ineligibility.’

The IAAF welcomed the decision. ‘The assistance that can be provided by athletes and support personnel in uncovering anti-doping rule violations is vital for the IAAF’, read a statement issued today. ‘The IAAF encourages all athletes and other persons who have information that may assist in protecting clean athletes to provide this information to the IAAF or WADA.’

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