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Friday 04, Aug 2017

  Russian Athletics Chief Apologizes For Doping Scandal

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Dmitry Shlyakhtin, head of the Russian athletics federation (RusAF), has issued an apology in an address to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Congress meeting ahead of the World Championships.

Shlyakhtin rendered the public apology for the Russian doping scandal that has seen Russia barred from international track and field competition. The RusAF head remarked the situation with athletics is very difficult indeed and outlined that the Russian athletics federation had been totally overhauled since he took charge in early 2016 and that “radical changes” have been introduced. Shlyakhtin added the initial period was not sufficient to understand the scale of the crisis happening in Russia and added he had delved into this situation and understand that the decision by the IAAF and Council to ban Russia was indeed the right one.

The head of the Russian athletics federation said he would like to apologize to all athletes who have had gold and silver medals snatched from them at competitions. Shlyakhtin also said he wants to assure everyone that his new team will fight doping and what happened will never happen again.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe termed the apology as “a very candid response”. Coe remarked the whole Congress was pleased to recognize that the Russian federation recognized themselves that they have been through some pretty torrid times that they are doing everything they possibly can to make sure that the federation started doing the hard yards of changing the culture around coaching systems and endemic systems that have served, very badly, the athletes. The IAAF president also commented that progress is clearly being made.

Rune Andersen, independent chairman of the IAAF Taskforce looking into doping in Russia, hailed the apology. Andersen remarked it is fair to say that the path has not always been completely smooth and added there have been some bumps along the way, usually in the form of political statements or interventions that have not been entirely helpful. The IAAF Taskforce chairman said he would want to pay tribute to Dmitry Shlyakhtin and the colleagues he brought with him when he was elected as RusAF president in early 2016.

      Andersen added Dmitry clearly understands the need to change the doping culture that clearly existed in Russian athletics in the past and also remarked he understands the harm that culture has cost clean athletes everywhere as the apology he just extended to those cheated out of medals demonstrates. Andersen also commented that it is a measure of the man and an important step on the road to rehabilitation of Russian athletics that he is willing to acknowledge that offence publicly. Andersen insisted that the timeline of return of Russia to international action in November was possible.

Last year, Russia was accused of widespread state-sponsored doping. The athletics team of Russia was barred from last summer’s Rio Olympics and will also miss the IAAF World Championships. The world governing body of athletics however permitted some Russian athletes to compete as neutrals after they had successfully met the exceptional eligibility criteria, essentially demonstrating that they have come through transparent anti-doping testing.

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Thursday 03, Mar 2016

  National Women’s League Football Player Banned

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Drug Free Sport New Zealand has announced the case of a footballer banned for six months for unintentionally taking a banned substance truly suggests that athletes are required to exercise “utmost caution” with medications.

National Women’s League (NWL) footballer Kelsey Kennard was banned by the New Zealand Sports Tribunal after she returned a positive sample for Probenecid last November. Kelsey was provisionally suspended without opposition on December 23 after she admitted the violation. The Football South player will be eligible to play again on June 1.

In a statement, the Sports Tribunal said the National Women’s League football player had no intention of playing football for the next few months and it was because of this reason that she did not told the doctors treating her that she was subject to the anti-doping testing regime. The statement also added Kennard also did not make inquiries about what medication she was being given. Kennard was persuaded shortly after to play football and she started training for the 2015 NWL competition. The Football South player was tested at her last NWL game of the season.

Kennard attended an Urgent Doctor’s clinic On 10 September 2015 and was diagnosed with a bad case of cellulitis. The NWL footballer was administered the protocol treatment for cellulitis, which are antibiotics taken together with Probenecid for boosting the effectiveness of the antibiotics. Kennard made a return to the clinic the following two evenings and the same treatment was provided to her, including a further dose of Probenecid on each occasion.

The punishment of Kennard was reduced to six months after the Tribunal was satisfied Kennard established no significant fault to the violation. The standard suspension for the unintentional use of Probenecid is two years under the under the Sports Anti-Doping Rules 2015. The New Zealand Sports Tribunal took exceptional circumstances of the case into account, including the emergency nature of the treatment and the clear therapeutic reason for taking the substance and also said it believed Kennard when she said there was no intention to play in the National Women’s League at the time she took the substance. The Tribunal also considered the length of time Probenecid remained in her system as well as her switch from non-national level athlete to the national level between the time of taking it and the time of testing.

Graeme Steel, the Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive, remarked this case emphasized the requirement for athletes to understand the anti-doping rules around medications. Steel also added Drug Free Sport NZ stresses that athletes need to check whether a medication is prohibited in sport before they take it. The Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive added Kelsey Kennard has learned a hard lesson for not doing this and we would hope that other athletes learn from her mistake and take action to check the status of medications before they take them. He also remarked athletes could check the status of medications on the website of Drug Free Sport or by checking with their medical professional.

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Tuesday 05, Mar 2013

  Anti-Doping Program Defended By Surfing Officials

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Anti-Doping Program Defended By Surfing Officials

World surfing tour officials have defended their anti-doping testing program after legend Kelly Slater threw questions on how much was done.

The 11-time world champion, Slater, said he was tested only once last year. On Monday, five-time women’s world champion Stephanie Gilmore said she was surprised not be tested at all in 2012. Slater remarked they tested us at the first event and I never got tested again all year and added that they should either do it or don’t do it. He went on to say that he did not believe surfing had a problem with performance enhancing drugs.

The American professional surfer is best known for his competitive prowess and style has been crowned ASP World Champion a record 11 times, including 5 consecutive titles from 1994–98 and is the youngest (at age 20) and the oldest (at age 39) to win the title. He passed Australian surfing legend Mark Richards upon winning his 5th world title in 1997 to become the most successful champion in the history of the sport.

In reply to Slater’s comments, the Association of Surfing Professionals moved quickly to defend their anti-doping policy that was introduced at the start of the 2012 season with promises of a minimum ban of one year for competitors who test positive for illicit or performance enhancing drugs. New ASP chief executive Paul Speaker said in a statement the association has a very clear stance on doping that is very much consistent with protocols from other international professional sports as well as with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and it remains fully committed to adherence and enforcement to its policy.

The ASP World Tour was in a damage control mode after it was reported via Slater that recreational drug use in the sport was “rampant” and “full-on”. However, Slater later issued a statement claiming those comments had been taken out of context and his comments were not referring solely to the ASP World Tour or surfing in general but actually to sport as a whole. The American said he definitely thinks that there are issues for athletes across all sporting disciplines, which are required to be looked at, acknowledged, and serviced. Slater added that he is looking forward to working with ASP interim commissioner Kieren Perrow and ASP chief executive Paul Speaker and ASP Management in further enhancing any process that contributes to the betterment of the sport and its athletes.

The reported comments of Kelly Slater caused a stir at the tournament site at Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast, with drug use in sport a hot topic in the wake of the recent report by the Australian Crime Commission on doping and potential crime links in some Australian sporting codes.

The ASP interim commissioner and current ASP Top 34 competitor Kieren Perrow said he was confident athletes backed the testing regulations and said he played a significant role as the ASP surfers’ representative in the implementation of the ASP’s anti-doping policy before his new role as interim commissioner, and know each WCT (world championship tour) surfer supports it. Perrow added that the ASP test at multiple locations throughout the year and candidates are selected at random.

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