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Friday 17, Jun 2016

  Evidence Suggests Lord Coe Knew About Doping Corruption

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A senior Conservative MP has suggested that the position of Lord Sebastian Coe as the IAAF president could be at risk over “very, very disturbing” allegations about his knowledge of the doping problems of Russia.

Jesse Norman, chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, said the “jury is out” on whether he has confidence in Sebastian Coe in his present role. Norman remarked he expects the Tory peer to make a return before the committee to answer fresh questions and issue an apology to the parliament among the potential measures available if it is shown he misled parliament.

Tory MP Damian Collins said that the position of Coe as president of the IAAF will be ‘impossible’ unless he can provide a ‘robust explanation’. Collins added he thinks this is really significant information on the evidence about doping in Russia that he was sent the detailed allegations four months before the evidence became public and yet denied any knowledge.

Norman told BBC Radio 4’s Today program he would say it is almost certain that we will want to have Lord Coe back in front of the committee. Norman added competence is one thing, confidence is another thing and part of that would also be to assess whether he is giving the IAAF the leadership that he has promised and also commented that may all be swept away if the committee comes to the view that there’s been some issue of misleading Parliament here. Norman also said it was very disturbing that an email sent to Coe had detailed allegations about a Russian marathon champion asked to pay £360,000 to senior athletics officials to have her drugs offences covered up. Coe, now the president of the International Association of Athletic Federations, received the email outlining the doping scandal in August 2014.

This was after an investigation by the BBC’s Panorma program claimed that Coe might have misled the parliament in 2015 about when and what he knew about the Russian doping scandal. The BBC also gathered evidence that strongly suggests Sebastian Coe turned Papa Massata Diack, the disgraced former official at the centre of the corruption scandal, to help him win the presidential election.

Meanwhile, the IAAF has said Coe was right to pass on information to the ethics commission he received in 2014 about allegations of a plot to blackmail a Russian athlete over blood results. The world governing body of athletics said the panel told Sebastian Coe it was already aware of the allegations that were being “actively investigated”, so left the case with it. The athlete-in-question was Liliya Shobukhova, the former London marathon winner who was asked to pay €450,000 (£360,000) to officials for concealing her doping offences and allowing her to run in the London Olympics. The Russian athlete was eventually sanctioned for doping offences and a sum of €300,000 (£240,000) was repaid to her from an account belonging to Black Tidings, the company in Singapore controlled by a business associate of Papa Massata Diack and also now the focus of a criminal investigation being conducted by the French financial authorities.

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Wednesday 26, Aug 2015

  Liliya Shobukhova’s Sanction Reduced

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Liliya Bulatovna Shobukhova, the Russian long-distance runner who competed in marathon races, has finally received a reprieve from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Shobukhova, who was stripped of three Chicago and one London Marathon titles, had her ban reduced by seven months for providing “substantial assistance” to WADA. The 37-year-old Russian athlete was banned for a period of three years and two months after abnormalities were found in her athlete biological passport. She was initially banned for a period of two years but her ban was extended to run from January 24, 2013 to March 23, 2016 after the world governing body of athletics appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports. Her ban is now reduced after the World Anti-Doping Agency agreed to the cut in the sanction and the athlete is now eligible to compete again.

A WADA statement said it has agreed to a seven-month reduction in the athlete’s sanction that brings the total length of the athlete’s ineligibility period to two years and seven months, which ended on 23 August 2015. The anti-doping agency remarked reduction in the ban was due to substantial assistance that Shobukhova provided in line with the provisions of the world anti-doping code. The statement also reads that Liliya Shobukhova approached WADA in May 2014 to offer substantial assistance within the meaning of the code and it was also disclosed that the athlete accepted from the outset that she had committed an anti-doping rule violation.

It was also remarked the information and documentation provided by Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel and WADA considered the information provided by Shobukhova to be of significant value to clean sport. Therefore, WADA decided to exercise its authority and use the Substantial Assistance provisions in the 2015 Code [Article 10.6.1.2; also reflected in Rule 40.7(a) (ii) of Chapter 3 of the IAAF Competition Rules].

In 2001, Liliya Shobukhova started her career in middle-distance running and grabbed headlines when she reached the final at both the European Indoor Championships and European Athletics Championships in 2002. Her first big success moment came at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the 2006 European Athletics Championships where she won silver medals. In 2007, she won the Prague Half Marathon and reached final of 5000 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Shobukhova is the present European record holder in the 3000 meters and 5000 meters and a former world indoor record in the 3000 meters.

Her personal best of 2:18:20, set to win the Chicago Marathon in 2011, will be struck and the Russian athlete would no longer be considered the second fastest woman in history behind world record holder Paula Radcliffe. After a ban was imposed by the Russian federation, the World Marathon Majors announced it will amend the standings for WMM Series IV and WMM Series V and confirm a woman’s series winner. This meant that Irina Mikitenko of Germany will replace Liliya Shobukhova as the 2009-2010 series champion and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya will get the 2010-2011 title.

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Saturday 07, Feb 2015

  Radcliffe Angry At Doping Accusations

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Paula Radcliffe, the current women’s world record holder in the marathon, has disclosed that authorities must fight to protect clean athletes and the integrity of athletics.

Paula remarked that the doping epidemic has casted a shadow over athletics that have prompted many to believe that she took drugs during her career. She remarked people regularly questioned the legitimacy of her 2 hours and 15 minute 25 seconds marathon world record and added she knows it is a proud achievement but it does make you angry and it does make you think we have to put a system in place that protects those athletes. Paula Radcliffe added it is hard to her to understand how other people who have cheated can stand there and look their competitors and family in the eye.

Recently, Liliya Shobukhova, the only woman to have run within three minutes of the 12-year-old record of Radcliffe, was banned for two years after abnormalities in her biological passport. Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, the fifth fastest marathon runner of all time, received a doping ban of two years from the sport after she tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a blood-boosting banned drug.

Last November, the world of athletics was rocked by claims made in a German documentary Top Secret: How Russia Makes Its Winners that 99 per cent of Russian athletes use banned substances as part of a state-sponsored doping regime.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) recently banned Olympic steeplechase champion Yulia Zaripova for doping. RUSADA also banned Russian heptathlete Tatiana Chernova for two years. London Olympic 50 kilometer walk champion Sergei Kirdyapkin was banned along with Olga Kaniskina and Valery Borchin, who won the women’s and men’s 20 kilometer respectively in Beijing 2008, were also in the banned list as were the 2011 world champion in the 50 kilometer walk, Sergei Bakulin, and Vladimir Kanaikin, silver medalist at the 2011 world championships.

Radcliffe remarked there will be some Russians athletes who are not cheating, there are a lot of Kenyan athletes out there who are not cheating, and they are all being lumped together. She also said it spoils it so we have to do something to protect that and protect the sport. Radcliffe has been a fierce advocate of harsh punishments for athletes who are caught doping and she stirred controversy at the 2001 World Championships by holding up a sign reading “EPO Cheats Out” after a rival failed a test for the drug. Radcliffe remarked she is considering taking on a formal anti-doping role and added if you are going to have strong views about something you might as well get involved in actually doing something proactively to back it up.

Paula Radcliffe was appointed recently by Great Run, the world’s favorite Run series with 17 runs in the UK and abroad, as its women’s running ambassador. Radcliffe, speaking to launch a scheme to encourage people to take up running at the Great Manchester Run, said running is always going to be a huge part of her life and she just wants to try and get as many women and children as possible involved. The English long-distance runner said so getting involved, whether it’s with the IAAF or WADA or with this scheme, then great – it’s something she really feels passionate about.

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Sunday 07, Dec 2014

  Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

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Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

Three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova paid more than $600,000 to the Russian track federation for avoiding a doping suspension, according to his agent Andrei Baranov.

The French sports newspaper L’Equipe made this stunning revelation and cited a deposition that the agent provided to the Ethics commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). L’Equipe also reported that Liliya was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she paid the money in three installments in January, June, and July 2012 despite she violating doping rules in 2011.

Liliya was eventually banned in April 2014 by the Russian Federation for two years after blood doping was indicated by irregularities in her biological passport. Her suspension annulled all her results after October 9, 2009 that included all three Chicago wins and her 2010 London Marathon victory. However, the Russian athlete is still listed as Chicago champion in 2009-10-11 pending the outcome of her appeal. After her suspension was announced, Liliya asked for reimbursement of the apparent bribes and received only two-thirds of what she had paid. L’Equipe reported the bribe money could have been used for paying off an official of the International Association of Athletics Federations or officials for suppressing positive tests.

The IAAF has now appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for imposing a ban of four years on Shobukhova. In a statement, the IAAF said there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.

In another development, German TV network ARD disclosed Russia has been funding a widespread “East German-style” doping program for its athletes participating in national and international events. The investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt’s documentary revealed that a wide network of corruption exists to cover up doping positives and doping products are used by up to “99%” of the Russian Olympic team. ARD also disclosed that Mariya Savinova, the reigning Olympic 800-meter champion, was captured admitting to making the use of Oxandrolone (Anavar). The German broadcaster also revealed that Yulia Rusanova, who previously competed as an 800-meter runner, said banned substances were provided to her by her coach. Valentin Balakhnichev, who serves as the treasurer for the IAAF and is the President of the Russian Association of Athletics Federations, was also accused by ARD in the Shobukhova case. ARD also implicated Russian Athletics Federation coach Alexey Melnikov and leading sports physician Sergey Portugalov in the cover-up of drug positives and the drug procurement system.

Yulia Stepanova accused Sergei Portugalov, the head of the Russian federation’s medical department, of supplying doping products in return for 5 percent of the earnings of an athlete plus bonuses for competition wins. The former 800m runner who is now banned for abnormalities in her biological passport also remarked Russian athletes had avoided out-of-competition testing by using false names during foreign training camps.

David Howman, the general director of the World Anti-Doping Association, described Hajo Seppelt’s documentary allegations as “shocking”.

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Monday 05, May 2014

  Liliya Shobukhova Banned For Doping

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Liliya Shobukhova Banned For Doping

Liliya Shobukhova, the second fastest female marathon runner of all time, has received a doping ban of two years from the Russian athletics federation.

The Russian athlete was banned for abnormalities in her biological passport. Russian Athletics announced all her results since October 9, 2009 have been annulled. This means her marathon best of two hours 18 minutes and 20 seconds, which was set in winning in Chicago in 2011, will be wiped from the record books. Shobukhova’s suspension is backdated to January 24, 2013 and will end on January 23, 2015. The biological passport can be used to trace fluctuations in hematocrit, hemoglobin, and red blood cell counts and is also effective for tracing changes in testosterone, epitestosterone, and testosterone/epitestosterone ratio that are possible indicators of steroid use.

One of the most successful marathon runners in history, Liliya Bulatovna Shobukhova previously specialized in the 3000 and 5000 meters track events and has been lately competing in marathon races. Shobukhova is the current European record holder in the 3000 m and 5000 m. Shobukhova may be stripped of her 2009, 2010, and 2011 Chicago Marathon victories, as well as her 2010 London Marathon win. Shobukhova will have to repay her prize and appearance money from these London and Chicago races.

Nick Bitel, General Counsel of World Marathon Majors, said WMM will continue to hold a stern line and supports all measures to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races and added that cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught. Shobukhova has a right to appeal the Federation decision.

Shobukhova won the Philadelphia Distance Run and set a half marathon best of 1:10:21 after representing Russia in the women’s 5000 meters at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In October 2009, she was the female winner of the Chicago Marathon and finished in a time of 2:25:56 and was the female winner of the 2010 London Marathon by finishing in a time of 2:22:00. In October 2010, Shobukhova took the 2009–2010 World Marathon Majors jackpot of $500,000 US dollars with a Russian record of 2:20:25 for the marathon. Shobukhova finished as runner-up last April in London and became the first athlete, man or woman, to win Chicago three years in a row. She is the second-fastest woman in history and is behind only Paula Radcliffe.

Hugh Brasher, the London Marathon race director, said in a statement that London Marathon is at the forefront of the fight against doping in our sport and we are very proud to have been the first major marathon to introduce blood testing for all of our elite competitors, prior to each event. He added this mandatory blood testing commenced at the London Marathon in 2002 and has continued with all our elite competitors throughout and went on to remark that as one of the world’s leading marathons, we continue to work very closely with UK Anti-Doping, the IAAF and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) with the aim of eradicating drug taking in our sport.

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