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Russia’s anti-doping body launches probe against race walker Yargunkin

August 28, 2015, 14:46 UTC+3 BEIJING
The coach of the sole representative in race walking at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing says Alexander Yargunkin had tested positive for erythropoietin
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© ITAR-TASS/Vitaliy Belousov

BEIJING, August 28. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has launched a probe into doping abuse by athlete Alexander Yargunkin who was expected to be Russia’s sole representative in race walking at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing, RUSADA Executive Director Nikita Kamayev told TASS on Friday.

"Everything that is part of the probe into this athlete is confidential information and RUSADA won’t comment on anything until its disciplinary committee passes a decision. In case of revealing possible breaches in individual disciplines, an athlete is suspended from competitions for the time of the probe," Kamayev said.

The athlete’s coach, Konstantin Golubtsov, told TASS on Friday that Yargunkin had tested positive for erythropoietin.

"I can’t understand how this could take place," the coach said.

"The athlete who has stayed at home assures that he is not guilty. I want all persons concerned to study this situation and make it clear how it has so happened that international anti-doping services have not found any banned substances in Yargunkin’s body system but RUASADA has found them," the coach said.

The All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) announced in mid-July it would not send Russian athletes to international race walking competitions until RUSADA completed its anti-doping probe against the Saransk race walk center in Mordovia and its head Viktor Chegin.

The ARAF said it had taken this decision so as not to undermine the prestige of Russian athletics.

The IAAF World Championship in Beijing opened amid fresh allegations of doping in international athletics, including Russian athletes.

The German television channel ARD aired a documentary on August 1, "Doping — Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics," which alleged that ARD and The Sunday Times had obtained a leaked database belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations, which contained more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012.

ARD further alleged that a third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests but none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

The Sunday Times also alleged that Russian athletes suspected of doping abuse had won 80% of medals for their country at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012.

Doping scandals with Russian athletes

Russia came into the focus of a doping scandal last December, when German television aired a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports. The ARD’s two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

The All-Russia Athletics Federation was further hit by a series of high-profile doping scandals starting this year. On January 30, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency suspended country’s titled athletes Tatiana Chernova and Yulia Zaripova over doping abuse.

Runner 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.

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