IAAF concerned over extent of doping in Russian athletics

The IAAF has expressed concern over the extent of doping in Russian athletics following a spate of fresh bans announced on Tuesday.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) confirmed bans for five athletes following analysis of their biological passports, which revealed abnormalities in their blood values.

Bans of three years and two months were handed to reigning Olympic 50 kilometre walking champion Sergei Kirdyapkin, Olga Kaniskina – a now-retired gold medallist at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and silver medallist at London 2012 in the 20km walk – and 2011 world 50km champion Sergei Bakulin.

The cases of Kirdyapkin and Kaniskina have been backdated to October 2012, while Bakulin’s sanction runs from December 2012.

Valery Borchin, winner of an Olympic gold medal in the 20km walk in 2008, has been suspended for eight years for a second offence, and Vladimir Kanaykin has received a life ban for a repeat offence.

On Wednesday, the IAAF released a statement seeking to underline its position on the cases, and has vowed to fully investigate any further accusations.

“In light of media inquiries into sanctions announced yesterday in the Russian media, the IAAF would like to clarify a number of points,” the statement read.

“All athletes were caught under the IAAF Athlete Biological Passport programme (ABP) although, as per IAAF Rules, the cases are sent to the Russian Federation (ARAF) for adjudication.

“The IAAF is satisfied that we have found aggravating circumstances in all cases, as we requested when referring the case to the Russian authorities.

“As a result of these cases, major international titles will be redistributed, BUT not until the IAAF has received, and carefully analysed, the full reasoned decision from ARAF to ensure they are in strict compliance with IAAF Rules.

“As a result of these five new cases, a total of 23 elite Russian athletes have now been sanctioned under the IAAF ABP programme which was launched in 2009 (37 athletes in total from all nations have been sanctioned in this period as ABP cases).

“The number of Russian doping cases in athletics generally, and in race walking specifically, is a major concern for the IAAF and we are fully investigating recent doping allegations in Russian athletics, with WADA’s support.”