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All-Russia Athletics Federation President Balakhnichev resigns in wake of doping scandals

February 17, 2015, 15:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW
On January 30, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) suspended country’s titled athletes Tatiana Chernova and Yulia Zaripova over doping abuse
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All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) President Valentin Balakhnichev

All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) President Valentin Balakhnichev

© Yury Mashkov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) President Valentin Balakhnichev announced on Tuesday his resignation in the wake of high-profile doping scandals involving titled Russian athletes.

"I have studied the [federation’s] current charter," Balakhniched said speaking at a session of ARAF’s presidium. "I have the right of delegating my powers to one of the vice presidents. This is the decision I made and I am not intending to change it. I delegate my powers to Vadim Zelichenko."

Balakhnichev, 65, who has been heading the ARAF for over 20 years and was reelected for another four-year term in 2012, said last month he would be ready to resign from his post only after he settled all issues connected with doping scandals.

On January 30, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) suspended country’s titled athletes Tatiana Chernova and Yulia Zaripova over doping abuse.

Zaripova, a 2011 world athletics champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was disqualified for two years and six months from July 25, 2013. Chernova, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 world champion, was disqualified for two years from July 22, 2013.

RUSADA also announced in January that Olympic Champions in race walk Valery Borchin, Sergey Kirdyapkin and Olga Kaniskina as well as Russia’s 2011 World Champion Sergey Bakulin and 2011 World Championship silver medalist Vladimir Kanaikin were suspended after they were found guilty of violating anti-doping regulations.

Their suspensions were based on irregularities in their biological passports, which were indicators to abuse of performance enhancing drugs.

Kaniskina, Kirdyapkin and Bakulin were each handed by RUSADA suspension terms of three years and two months, while Borchin was disqualified for the term of eight years. Kanaikin was disqualified for life. The suspension terms come into force as of October 15, 2012 meaning that Borchin will be ineligible to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

Borchin and Kaniskina are 2008 Beijing Olympics champions in 20 km Walk. Kaniskina is also a silver medalist of the 2012 Olympics in London in women’s 20 km Walk. Kirdyapkin won the Olympic gold in men’s 50 km Walk at the 2012 Summer Games in London. This is a second suspension penalty for Borchin, 28, as he was already subjected to a one-year disqualification in 2005 also on doping abuse charges.

Race walker Bakulin won his world champion’s title in men’s 50 km walk at the 2011 World Championships in South Korea’s Daegu.

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