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Thursday 29, Dec 2016

  Backtrack By Russia On Doping Admissions

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Russia has again decided to open its “Pandora” box of lies a day after admitting to institutional conspiracy by doping its athletes.

Anna Antseliovich, the acting head of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA), recently admitted that Russia was behind state-sponsored doping but emphasized the Russian President and top officials were unaware of it. The New York Times asked Russian officials over several days of interviews whether they still disputed credible evidence of an organized Russian doping program centered on the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi for Russian athletes. The acting head of the Russian anti-doping agency said it was an institutional conspiracy.

On Wednesday, the Russian anti-doping agency said Antseliovich was misquoted and that her words were taken out of context.

The RUSADA statement said RUSADA states that its Acting Director General A.A. Antseliovich has been misquoted and her words were taken out of the context in response to the article published in ‘The New York Times’ newspaper. The statement further reads that the Acting Director General pointed out during the conversation between A.A. Antseliovich and the journalist Rebecca Ruiz that Richard McLaren in the second part of his report published on December 9, 2016 no longer used the words ‘state-sponsored system of doping’ and instead referred to ‘institutional conspiracy’ thereby excluding potential involvement of the top country officials.

The second and final report of McLaren also detailed a vast, state-sponsored doping cover-up that involved 12 medalists from the Sochi Games. The report said the Russian “institutional conspiracy” involved the Sports Ministry, the national anti-doping agency, and the FSB intelligence service.

The RUSADA statement further reads that Ruiz unfortunately by taking the words out of the context, created an impression that RUSADA management admits to the existence of such institutional conspiracy of doping cover-up in Russia. RUSADA added we would like to stress that RUSADA has no authority to admit to or deny any such fact, since the investigation of the case is handled by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. The Russian anti-doping agency further said we in addition would like to stress that RUSADA firmly believes that every accused athlete has unalienable right to challenge the accusations.

In response to RUSADA’s claims, it was tweeted by New York Times reporter Rebecca Ruiz that the newspaper stands by its story and that all quotes in our story today are accurate.

Russian officials have vehemently denied in the past that their country was involved in state-backed doping and cover-ups despite McLaren directly implicating the sports ministry of Russia of overseeing a vast doping conspiracy that involved Russian summer and winter sports athletes.

A report by the New York Times previously detailed Gregory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, had tampered with top Russian athletes’ urine samples. It was also revealed that athletes received cocktails of performance enhancing drugs from Rodchenkov and also described manipulation of doping samples by members of the Federal Security Service in Russia and years of cover-ups involving top athletes using banned substances as ordered by a deputy sports minister.

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Saturday 03, Dec 2016

  Athletes Were Persuaded By Former Anti-Doping Lab Chief To Take Unknown Substances

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The deputy chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Ilya Lazutov, has remarked athletes were induced into taking unknown substances by the former director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov.

Lazutov added Rodchenkov is known to have been persuading them to take substances possessing unknown properties. The deputy chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee further added that testimonies to that effect had been made by several athletes whose names he was unable to disclose. He further added that the Investigative Committee is of the view that some criminal schemes may have been involved and added Rodchenkov may well have created and led a criminal ring.

More than 50 Russian athletes, their managers, and coaches were questioned as part of the Russian investigation into criminal cases involving violations of anti-doping rules. The list included former Deputy Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh and Natalia Zhelanova, a former advisor to the Russian sports minister on anti-doping issues. The Russia’s Investigative Committee deputy chairman added we are questioning everyone involved in the investigation regarding Rodchenkov and added we are also studying all claims regarding alleged opening of containers and substitution of doping samples.

Lazutov also commented that requests for legal assistance have been sent to the US to receive testimony from Grigory Rodchenkov, to Canada, to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to obtain the copies of materials that have formed the basis for Richard McLaren’s report.

It was further commented by the IC deputy chairman that the Investigative Committee while investigating the criminal cases continues to be open to cooperation with the relevant agencies and non-governmental organizations abroad, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

The IC deputy chief said the committee is open to cooperation with foreign agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the International Olympic Committee. Lazutov remarked we do count on mutual assistance within the framework of cooperation for obtaining the necessary information.

McLaren called Rodchenkov a credible and truthful person and remarked his report is based on evidence from the person who is at the center of this criminal scheme. This is a blow not only to the careers and fates of a large number of clean sportsmen, but also to the integrity of the Olympic movement.

Rodchenkov, who is taking refuge in the United States, had already confessed of eliminating some doping samples. Rodchenkov claimed he switched samples of athletes as he dumped “tainted” urine into a nearby toilet, washed out the bottles, dried and filled them with “clean” samples. Rodchenkov had also claimed that Russian athletes largely made use of performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with the approval from the national sports authorities.

Rodchenkov was blamed by investigators of using authority contrary to the legitimate interests of the anti-doping laboratory in order to extract personal benefits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced in July this year that his government has made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances.

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Sunday 27, Nov 2016

  Kazakh Weightlifting Federation’s Chief Coach Steps Down After Doping Scandal

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Alexei Ni, the chief coach of the Kazakh weightlifting federation, has stepped down from his position after the doping scandal that recently engulfed the sport. Ni helmed the national weightlifting team of Kazakhstan for over 20 years since 1994. Kazakh weightlifters participated in six Olympics Games under his guidance.

The International Olympic Committee stripped weightlifter Ilya Ilyin of Kazakhstan of two gold medals — one each from the Beijing and London Games, both in the 94-kilogram class. Ilyin is believed to be the first summer Olympic athlete to lose two gold medals for doping. Szymon Kolecki of Poland is likely to get Ilyin’s weightlifting gold from Beijing while Saeid Mohammedpour of Iran could take Ilyin’s 2012 gold.

Three Olympic gold medals and one silver medal were stripped of their medals in the latest round of positive doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games. The IOC announced seven athletes from Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan were retroactively disqualified after they tested positive for steroids in a reanalysis of their stored doping samples.

Ilyin’s sanction was announced recently by the Kazakhstan Olympic Committee. In a statement, the IOC said Ilya Ilyin tested positive for Stanozolol on his Beijing sample and for Stanozolol and Turinabol in his London test. One of the biggest names in weightlifting, Ilyin said he was “shaken” and “in shock” at the news. Ilyin, the only athlete to win two Olympic gold medals for Kazakhstan, said he was considering an appeal.

The weightlifting program of Kazakhstan, which had been one of the world’s most successful programs over the last decade, has been almost wiped out by retesting of samples,

The IOC also announced Oksana Menkova of Belarus was stripped of the Beijing gold medal in the women’s hammer throw after her retested samples came back positive for Turinabol and Oxandrolone. Menkova was also disqualified from the London Games, where she finished seventh after testing positive for Turinabol and Stanozolol.  The hammer gold medal of Menkova could now be awarded to Yipsi Moreno of Cuba, with Zhang Wenxiu of China in line to be upgraded to silver and Darya Pchelnik of Belarus to bronze.

The World Olympic body also announced Natalia Mikhnevich of Belarus was stripped of the silver medal in the women’s shot put from Beijing after her samples were reanalyzed and tested positive for Methandienone and Stanozolol. Natalia now faces a life ban for a second doping offense as served a two-year doping ban in 2013-15. Her husband, Andrei, is already serving a life ban after he lost his 2008 bronze medal when he was caught for doping in retests of samples from the 2005 world championships.

The IOC announced sanctions on Pavel Lyzhyn of Belarus, fourth-place finisher in the men’s shot put in Beijing, and Svetlana Usovich of Belarus, eliminated in the semifinals of the women’s 800 meters in Beijing. The International Olympic Committee also sanctioned Boyanka Kostova of Azerbaijan, fifth place in the women’s 58-kg weightlifting division in London, and Anastasia Mironchuk-Ivanova of Belarus, seventh in the women’s long jump in London.

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Wednesday 19, Oct 2016

  Russian Weightlifter Loses Olympic Silver In Doping Case

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced Russian weightlifter Apti Aukhadov has been stripped of a London 2012 silver medal after it was confirmed he had tested positive following the re-analysis of samples.

Aukhadov, who is from the Chechnya region, is the latest athlete to be officially sanctioned by the IOC following retesting of more than 1,000 doping samples from the London Olympics and 2008 Beijing Games.

The 23-year-old has been ordered to return his medal, which he won as a 19-year-old in the British capital. Aukhadov, the under-85 kilograms lifter, failed retests for anabolic steroids Turinabol and Drostanolone. The weightlifter also faces the risk of losing the World and European titles he won in 2013 as well as his world bronze medal won in 2015. Aukhadov becomes the tenth weightlifter to have been formally confirmed as failing a Beijing 2008 or London 2012 retest by the IOC. The Russian weightlifter lifted a total of 385kg to narrowly miss out on first place in London behind Adrian Zielinski of Poland, who managed the same total but had a higher clean and jerk mark. The weightlifter from Poland was barred from Rio 2016 after failing a drug test ahead of the Games.

It was revealed by an IOC disciplinary commission report that Aukhadov initially replied that he was “shocked” by the retest result and did not accept the anti-doping violation finding. The report added Aukhadov did not attend the opening and retesting of the backup “B” sample and also did not attended the hearing, or put up any further defense. The three-man panel said the athlete beyond alleging to be shocked does not bring forth any explanation in respect of the fact that two different anabolic steroids were found in his sample.

The IOC ordered the International Weightlifting Federation to adjust the London weightlifting results. The IWF has also been asked by the IOC to consider any further sanctions against Aukhadov, who could face a ban of at least two years. His gold medals from the 2013 world championships and European championships could also be annulled by the IWF.

Iranian Kianoush Rostami now stands to be promoted to silver after a total haul of 380kg and Tarek Yehia of Egypt should rise from fourth to the bronze medal position after managing 375kg.

The IOC also announced Ukrainian pole vaulter Maksym Mazuryk is also disqualified after finishing 18th in qualifying at London 2012. The pole valuter also tested positive for Turinabol after his sample was tested with the most up to date methods. Mazuryk, a world junior champion in 2002, had earlier claimed a silver medal at the 2010 European Championships and set a personal best of 5.88 metres indoors in 2011. A graduate of the Bubka Sports Club, Mazuryk was tested in Kyiv in July 2012 before the games. He accepted the positive finding and did not request a retesting of the “B” sample.

In another development, American weightlifter Norik Vardanian has tested positive for a banned substance in a sample he provided while competing for Armenia at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The IWF said he produced a positive test for the anabolic steroid Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.

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Thursday 01, Sep 2016

  More Medalists Stripped For Doping At Beijing Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has stripped four athletes, including three Russians, after their doping samples from 2008 were retested and came back positive for banned drugs.

The IOC sanctioned a total of six athletes — one runner and five weightlifters — on reanalysis of their samples with improved techniques. The athletes were among the 98 positive cases recorded in the retesting of more than 1,000 samples from Beijing and the 2012 London Olympics.

Yarelys Barrios of Cuba was stripped of the silver medal in the women’s discus from the 2008 Beijing Olympics after he tested positive in a reanalysis of her doping samples. The Cuban discus thrower tested positive for Acetazolamide, a banned diuretic and masking agent. The drug is used to prevent and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness and has the ability to reduce nausea, headache, tiredness, dizziness, and shortness of breath. This “water pill” (diuretic) can work less well over time.

The 33-year-old has been retroactively disqualified and loses the silver medal that she won with a throw of 63.64 meters. Olena Antonova of Ukraine would now receive the silver medal and Song Aimin of China will move from fourth to bronze. Stephanie Brown Tratfton of the United States won the gold with a throw of 64.74 meters. Yarelys also competed at the 2012 London Olympics and was upgraded from fourth place to the bronze medal after Darya Pishchainikova of Russia was retroactively stripped of the silver for doping.

The International Olympic Committee asked the IAAF, the track and field’s world governing body, to modify the 2008 discus results and consider any further action against the two-time silver medalist at the world championships and two-time gold medalist in the Pan American Games.

The Nigerian-born Qatari sprinter Samuel Adelebari Francis was disqualified from the Beijing Games after testing positive for the steroid Stanozolol. Francis was eliminated in the 100-meter heats and did not start in the 200-meter heats. The Qatari sprinter was the 100-meter champion at the 2007 Asian Games in Amman where won in a personal best time of 9.99 seconds.

Russian weightlifter Marina Shainova was stripped of her silver medal in the 58-kilogram class after testing positive for Stanozolol and Turinabol. Nadezda Evstyukhina was stripped of her bronze medal in the 75-kilogram weightlifting division after her samples came back positive for Turinabol and EPO. Armenia’s Tigram Martirosyan, who tested positive for Stanozolol and Turinabol, was stripped of the bronze medal in the men’s 69 kg weightlifting class. Russian runner Tatyana Firova was stripped of her silver medal in the women’s 4×400-metre relay after she tested positive for Turinabol and a cocktail of other steroids. Tatyana had her ninth-place finish in the individual 400 meters annulled.

Alexandru Dudoglo of Moldova (ninth place in the 69 kg division) was also disqualified for Stanozolol and Intigam Zairov of Azerbaijan (ninth place in the 85 kg class) tested positive for Turinabol.

Previously, Russia was stripped of the relay medal when runner Anastasia Kapachinskaya tested positive. The country also lost the Beijing gold medal in the 4×100 relay after Yulia Chermoshanskaya failed a retest of her samples.

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Tuesday 31, Mar 2015

  Former Olympic Swimming Champion Apologizes For Doping Ban

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Former Olympic Swimming Champion Apologizes For Doping Ban

South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan has offered an impassioned public apology, a few days after he received a doping ban of 18 months from FINA, the world governing body of swimming, for failing a doping test.

The swimmer expressly took complete responsibility for at least putting himself in an awkward position that allowed this situation to happen. Park stated he felt something must have been wrong when he first learned of the test result and added but then he realized that he should have been more careful. The South Korean swimmer said he thinks it is his fault regardless of reasons or processes that things have come to this point. Park Tae-hwan remarked he is sorry for having disappointed his fans and the South Korean people and added that he would like to apologize to the people for causing so much trouble with this unacceptable incident.

In a press conference at the Jamsil Tourist Hotel in Seoul, Park Tae-hwan in trembling voice said all of his honors over the past 10 years have come to nothing and added that all of his efforts just made him a junkie. The swimmer, popularly known as the “Marine Boy“, said since doping is something he has been aware of every day since the 2004 Olympics and added he could neither believe nor accept that this had happened. He went on to remark that aside from the question of intentionality, the very fact that an athlete who represents his country has caused a scandal is shameful and he deeply regrets what he had done.

It was previously claimed by the agency of Park that the positive drug test was due to an injection administered by a local hospital that provided him free chiropractic and other treatments in July.

The former Olympic swimming champion, who won the only ever swimming gold for South Korea in the 400 meters freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Games, tested positive for Testosterone in an out-of-competition drug test on September 3. The 18-month doping ban began retroactively the day of the positive test in early September and will expire on March 2, 2016. The results of Park after September 3, 2014 have been annulled and he would return the three bronze medals he won at last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.

The Olympic body of South Korea is presently contemplating easing its eligibility rules for athletes entering international competitions that would allow Park Tae-hwan a chance at qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Under present anti-doping rules of the country, any athlete suspended for doping is barred from competing with the national team for a period of three years.

In another development, FINA announced that it collected 1,121 doping samples in the year 2014 including the one that caught Park Tae-hwan. FINA said 894 were “Unannounced Out-of-Competition,” while 773 were “In Competition” and these anti-doping tests were in addition to those conducted by other organizations with anti-doping rules, including national Anti-Doping organizations, and the NCAA.

World Record holder Sun Yang, who tested positive for a banned substance in 2014, was tested only three times by FINA while Americans Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps each underwent 4 tests. Yang was banned by the China Anti-Doping Agency after he tested positive for a banned stimulant Trimetazidine. In 2012, Sun Yang became the first Chinese male swimmer to win Olympic gold when took gold in the 400m and 1,500m freestyle events at London 2012.

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Thursday 22, Jan 2015

  Doping Will Be Eliminated Soon, Claims Russian Athletics Chief

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Doping Will Be Eliminated Soon, Claims Russian Athletics Chief

Russia’s Athletics Federation (VFLA) president Valentin Balakhnichev has remarked that doping will be eliminated from Russian athletics in the near future.

Balakhnichev said the VFLA takes around 4,000 doping samples every year and not one federation in the world has such a widespread anti-doping program. Recently, a German television documentary alleged that doping was widespread among Russian athletes. The VFLA chief added he will guarantee we will clean our hands of this dirt after carrying out a difficult process in the near future. He went on to remark that the Russia’s Athletics Federation is not working to support doping but is fighting against it.

Balakhnichev also remarked that he would not take responsibility for banned Russian walkers taking part in official events. Recently, the world and Olympic 20km champion Elena Lashmanova competed in the Mordovian winter championships in Saransk though she is suspended until 2016 after failing a drugs test. Balakhnichev remarked two other sportsmen apart from Lashmanova also competed who had no right to do so — Sergei Bakulin and Yekaterina Medvedeva and added we have sent all three an official letter and we are waiting for their responses as well as those of the organizers of the competition.

Lashmanova, a gold medal winner for the 20-kilometer race walk at the 2012 London Olympics, was banned for two years for testing positive for a banned substance in January 2014. She now faces a ban from next year’s Olympics for doping after it was found that she competed illegally in a December 30 meet in Russia with 2012 world junior champion Ekaterina Medvedeva, another banned athlete. An official in the Russian program who was behind the event said the photos were actually taken in 2012, not this past December but the claims were refuted by a Canadian race walker who said the clothing worn in the photos was not available in 2012.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is presently looking into the allegations. Balakhnichev remarked the IAAF has already got in touch with us and we must send them some official documents, including photographic evidence and added that we will comply with this request. Balakhnichev also remarked the competition in Saransk was not an official VFLA event and remarked this incident is connected with separate sportsmen and not our federation. The VFLA chief also said he cannot run after everyone and make sure they are not breaking the rules.

In the last six years, twenty Russian walkers have been disqualified for doping offences and each of them trained at the Olympic Training Centre in Saransk under Coach Viktor Chegin.

Balakhnichev remarked the coaches have even more responsibility than the sportsmen. He further added they should be more actively making sure that the anti-doping controls from Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA are being enforced and also said we should be concentrating our focus on particular individuals and not on particular sports. The VFLA chief also said the Lance Armstrong case saw the sportsman punished and not the American cycling federation.

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Wednesday 17, Dec 2014

  Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

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Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

An independent commission has been set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate allegations of widespread and systematic doping among Russian athletes.

The three-person WADA commission will be chaired by WADA’s former president Dick Pound and will also include lawyer Richard McLaren. A third member of the independent commission will be announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency at a later stage. WADA said the investigation will begin next month. The panel will seek to determine if there have been any World Anti-Doping Code violations by athletes, coaches, doctors, trainers, and WADA-accredited laboratories that may result in sanctions against individuals or organizations.

Pound, the outspoken Canadian IOC member, is entrusted with the task of investigation and comes with strong credentials. He led an internal probe of the International Olympic Committee into the Salt Lake City bid scandal that resulted in the resignation or expulsion of 10 members.

The International Association of Athletics Federations welcomed the appointment of the WADA panel. IAAF President Lamine Diack said The IAAF takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support of the WADA investigation and added our primary concern must always be to protect the integrity of competition in support of the vast majority of clean athletes, and we look forward to working with WADA to this end.

Earlier this month, a documentary broadcast by German television station ZDF/ARD disclosed Russian athletes and coaches admitting to covering up positive doping tests. The documentary claimed that 99 percent of Russian athletes are guilty of doping and it also alleged that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for track and field, decided not to investigate 150 suspicious doping samples, including one from a British athlete.

In a statement, WADA confirmed the role of the Commission is to establish: if there have been any breaches of World Anti-Doping Code or International Standard processes or rules by signatories to the Code; if there have been any breaches of rules by WADA-accredited laboratories; if there have been any breaches of anti-doping rules by athletes and their entourage members (including coaches, trainers and doctors); and, to gather information and explore whether sufficient evidence exists that could lead to sanctions against any individual or organization under rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie remarked WADA is pleased that Richard Pound and Professor Richard McLaren have agreed to look into the grave doping allegations that came to light through the recent German television broadcasts. Reedie added the Independent Commission has the vital task of reviewing the allegations aired during the documentaries, as well as all other information received separately by WADA, to determine if there have been any violations to anti-doping rules. The WADA president also remarked once the investigation is concluded, if it is found that there have been violations or breaches of the rules, WADA will ensure that any individuals or organizations concerned are dealt with in an appropriate fashion under the World Anti-Doping Code. He also said the Commission will be given the resources it needs in order for the investigation to be carried out thoroughly, and so that, in turn, clean athletes across the world are reassured that the anti-doping system is working in their best interests.

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