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Tuesday 19, Mar 2013

  Blame Swimmers Not Coaches For London Flop, says Nick D’Arcy

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Blame Swimmers Not Coaches For London Flop, says Nick D’Arcy

Controversial 25-year-old Nick D’Arcy believes his fellow swimmers have to take responsibility for the disappointing show of Australia in the London Olympic pool last year rather than blaming coaches and team management.

D’Arcy, who swam well outside his personal best to crash out of the 200 meters butterfly in the semi-finals in London, remarked the review of team culture released on Tuesday was deliberately inflammatory. According to the Bluestone review, team management had failed to prevent a “toxic culture” from developing in the swimming squad that produced the worst Olympic results by Australia in 20 years.

It was disclosed by the review that the abuse of prescription drugs and alcohol and flouting of curfews and bullying had gone unchecked and contributed to the under-performance.

D’Arcy added some of the things outlined there were designed to be more inflammatory than anything else and also went on to say he thinks we are just trying to look for excuses and trying to pass the buck. The swimmer added he certainly didn’t perform the way he would have liked to and takes full personal responsibility for that.

Meanwhile, Swimming Australia has appointed a panel to investigate allegations of drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit and bullying by members of the London Olympic team. In a news release, Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said we have to investigate these allegations and deal with them appropriately by putting in place the right framework to establish the right culture. Nettlefold added he will be encouraging the panel to look at each allegation and we want to stop talking about rumors and act on the facts of what did or did not actually occur.

Swimming Australia remarked six members of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team had come forward to discuss a team bonding session at a training camp in Manchester before the Games. The squad (James Magnussen, Matt Targett, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, Cameron McEvoy, and Tommaso D’Orsogna) arrived in London confident of winning the gold, but ended up fourth in the final.

The panel, comprising former Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath and three members of the SA board, will start work on their investigations immediately.

An Independent Swimming Review into the high performance program at Swimming Australia commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission made 35 recommendations for improvements and alleged that some team members had been subjected to initiation rituals involving Stilnox – a sedative banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just before the Games. The prescription drug Stilnox was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just before the 2012 Games and James Magnussen and his teammates from the Australian men’s 4x100m freestyle relay squad who admitted to using the sedative now face sanctions from the governing body for breaching their Olympic team membership agreement. The six swimmers said in a statement read out at a news conference we stand here collectively to confirm that we did take part in a bonding exercise during which members of the relay team took Stilnox.

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Tuesday 12, Mar 2013

  Five 2005 World Medalists Caught

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Five 2005 World Medalists Caught

Five medal-winning athletes have been caught doping after samples from the 2005 World Championships were recently tested again.

One of the five was Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who won gold in Helsinki and was stripped of her London Olympic gold medal for doping while the other two champions from 2005 were the hammer throwers Ivan Tsikhan of Belarus and Olga Kuzenkova of Russia. Long-jumper Tatyana Kotova, who won silver in 2005 and 2003 and Kotova also won gold at the 2002 European Championships, when GB’s Jade Johnson was fourth, is another caught. Vadim Devyatovskiy of Belarus who claimed silver in the men’s hammer, and countryman Andrei Mikhnevich, who did not win a medal in Helsinki but was world champion in 2003, were also caught.

Vladislav Piskunov of Ukraine who had finished 12th in the men’s Hammer Throw, and Neelam Jaswant Singh of India who was 9th in Group A of the women’s Discus Throw qualification, had already been sanctioned and disqualified for doping violations at the 2005 IAAF World Championships, Helsinki, Finland.

It is obvious that the substances involved in the doping cases will all merit sanctions in the serious doping category that includes anabolic steroids. This means that there would generally be an automatic ban of two years for first offenders and others with past doping history could face longer bans. Last year, the International Association of Athletics Federations retested samples taken in Helsinki and Nick Davies, deputy general secretary of the governing body, said the retesting had been carried out eight years after the event to capitalize on the latest equipment and technology. These samples had been transferred to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland following the World Championships for long-term storage in accordance with the IAAF retesting policy. Davies said we have an eight-year statute of limitations on anti-doping, so seven years past the event is really when you want to test, using the most up-to-date equipments. Athletes can be sanctioned for a violation up to eight years after they provide their urine or blood samples for a drug test under the World Anti-Doping Code.

About 100 samples were tested, from a range of events and nationalities, remarked Davies and explained that Russians were more likely to be tested than most nationalities due to the fact there were more of them in the IAAF testing pool. The deputy general secretary of the governing body remarked Russia is the second-most successful nation behind the United States and as a result we are testing more Russian athletes more often.

IAAF President Lamine Diack said the message of the International Association of Athletics Federations to cheaters is increasingly clear that, with constant advancements being made in doping detection, there is no place to hide and this re-testing is just the latest example of the IAAF’s firm resolve to expose cheating in our sport. The IAAF will continue to do everything in its power to ensure the credibility of competition, and where the rules have been broken, will systematically uncover the cheats. Diack says the findings confirm the sport’s commitment to rooting out those suspected of foul play.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Five 2005 World Medalists Caught

Wednesday 14, Nov 2012

  Darya Pishchalnikova Facing Lifetime Ban

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Darya Pishchalnikova Facing Lifetime Ban

A London Olympic silver medalist in the discus, Darya Pishchalnikova, faces a lifetime ban after being caught doping for a second time. The discus thrower also faces the possibility of losing her Olympic medal.

The 2011 world discus champion was being investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency after a recent test revealed she was positive for anabolic steroids, said Nikita Kamayev, executive director of Russia’s Ani-doping Agency.

Kamayev said an athlete who commits a second offense may face from eight years to a life ban and her Olympic medal depends on when her suspension would start if she was found guilty this time.

The discus thrower, in the meanwhile, has professed her innocence and made a request for the analysis of her B sample and there is a slim chance that it may clear her. Pishchalnikova has had a controversial career that included close to a suspension of three years from July 2008 to April 2011 for manipulating samples before the 2008 Games when six other athletes from Russia were also involved in the tampering.

All the athletes were charged under IAAF Rules 32.2 (b) and 32.2 (e) for a fraudulent substitution of urine that is both a prohibited method and also a form of tampering with the doping control process and these rule violations were established after the deliberate storage of samples by the IAAF and re-analysis using comparative DNA techniques. The involved athletes were Svetlana Cherkasova – 800m, Yulia Fomenko – 1500m, Gulfiya Khanafeyeva – Hammer Throw, Darya Pishchalnikova  – Discus Throw, Yelena Soboleva – 800m / 1500m, Tatyana Tomashova – 1500m, And Olga Yegorova  – 1500m / 5000m.

Investigation of the 27-year-old discus thrower is expected to be completed by the end of November, said Valentin Balakhnichev, president of the Russian athletics federation (VFLA) and made it clear that VFLA is “committed in the fight against doping”.

The female discus thrower from Russia won the silver medal in the discus at the 2001 World Youth Championships in Athletics and then repeated the feat at the World Junior Championships in 2004 to establish herself as one of the top women’s throwers at the 2006 European Athletics Championships to win the gold medal with a personal best throw of 65.55 meters. Pishchalnikova won the silver medal at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka with a personal best throw of 65.78 meters and was thereafter selected to represent Russia at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. But she was suspended over doping test irregularities and received a two-year doping ban for manipulating drug samples.

After her return from ban, Pishchalnikova finished eleventh at the World Championships in Daegu in 2011 and took the second place in the 2012 European Cup Winter Throwing with a personal best throw of 67.00 m in Adler. The Russian was runner-up to Sandra Perković at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting and bagged the first prize in the Russian Championships with a throw of 70.69 m – the best performance in the event since 1992.

Meanwhile, VFLA banned Ingna Abitova, former European 10,000 meters champion, for abnormal hemoglobin profile in her biological passport.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Darya Pishchalnikova Facing Lifetime Ban

Thursday 19, Apr 2012

  Hi-tech drugs may remain totally undetectable

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A new designer drug that is already being used in Australian high-performance sport is sweeping world sport.

The drug mimics testosterone and is totally undetectable. Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMS) have widely become popular on internet forums and received thousands of testimonials.

“We think those numbers are more in the double digits. Now that’s a concern. If there is more than 10 per cent of the athletes in the world being tempted to take the shortcut by taking prohibited substances, then we’ve got an issue that is not being confronted as well as it should be,” WADA said.

Monday 02, Jan 2012

  Matildas’s Olympic reprieve hopes dashed

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Matildas’ hopes of a London Olympic reprieve have been dashed after Australia’s calls to have North Korea banned from the tournament over a doping row fell on deaf ears.

The women soccer team of Australia narrowly missed a 2012 Olympic berth after finishing third at the Asian qualifying tournament in September behind Japan and North Korea.

“WADA has carefully considered the award relating to all the sanctions handed out by FIFA to the North Korea women’s team,” a WADA statement said.

Tuesday 12, Apr 2011

  Linford Christie to address MPs

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Linford Christie to address MPsOlympic gold medalist, Linford Christie was invited to a committee of MPs, which focuses on performance enhancing drugs.

Two scholars, Roger Maughan, Loughborough University, and Julian Savulescu, Oxford, have also been invited to address the committee.

An inquiry for human enhancement technologies in sport, in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, is being conducted by the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

Wednesday 09, Mar 2011

  Linford Christie to address MPs on performance enhancement in sport

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Linford Christie to address MPs on performance enhancement in sportThe Olympic gold medalist, Linford Christie, has been asked to address a committee of MPs which is looking into performance enhancing drugs.

Two academics, Roger Maughan, of the University of Loughborough, and Julian Savulescu, of Oxford, have also been asked to address the committee.

An inquiry into human enhancement technologies in sport in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympic games is being undertaken by the Commons science and technology committee.