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Six titled Russian athletes stripped of medals, including 2012 Olympic gold, silver

March 24, 13:17 UTC+3
Olga Kaniskina was stripped of her silver medal from the 2012 London Olympics and the 2010 European Championships gold while race walker Sergey Kirdyapkin was stripped of his 2012 Olympics gold
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Olga Kaniskina

Olga Kaniskina

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/ITAR-TASS

GENEVA, March 24. /TASS/. A group of six Russian field and track athletes were stripped of all their titles and medals they won between 2009 and 2013, including one gold and one silver medals of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, for anti-doping rules violations.

The decision was made following a ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, which on Thursday upheld an appeal from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) against six Russian athletes and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

"The appeals concern one element of decisions issued by the disciplinary committee of the Russian Anti-doping Agency ("RUSADA") in anti-doping cases brought against the athletes, based on irregularities observed in the athletes’ biological passports," CAS said in its ruling.

In March 2015 the IAAF announced its disagreement with RUSADA’s decision to suspend a a group of Russian athletes for doping-related violations selectively annulling results of the field and trackers at the issue. The IAAF insisted that all results of the banned athletes must be annulled beginning from the start of their suspensions and filed an appeal with the CAS against RUSADA’s decision.

Six Russians in the case are titled field and trackers Sergey Kirdyapkin, Sergey Bakulin, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin, Vladimir Kanaikin and Yulia Zaripova.

"The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) claimed that RUSADA had incorrectly applied the applicable anti-doping rules adopted by IAAF (the "IAAF ADR") to implement the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code with respect to the disqualification of competitive results (disqualification of results split in different periods)," the CAS said.

"The IAAF challenged what it felt was a "selective" disqualification of results, submitting that all results achieved by the athletes from the date of their first abnormal sample to the date they accepted a provisional suspension should be disqualified," the ruling said.

"In each case, the appeal filed by the IAAF has been upheld and the decision issued by the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for each athlete has been modified."

Among the annulled results on Thursday are the 2012 Olympic gold in men’s 50 km walk, won by Kirdyapkin and the 2012 Olympic silver in women’s 20 km walk, won by Kaniskina. Race walker Sergey Bakulin and runner Yulia Zaripova were deprived of their gold medals of the 2011 IAAF World Championship.

The All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) announced later on Thursday it had no objections at all regarding the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne to strip of medals a group of Russian athlete

"The decision is final and is not a subject to appeals," the ARAF said in a statement posted on its website. "The All-Russia Athletics Federation accepts it for enforcement."

"The ARAF is confident that the implacable fight against doping in the national field and track athletics will yield its results and Russians will be able to return to the world family of athletics," the statement added.

Valentin Balakhnichev, a former president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), told TASS commenting on the developments that the decision of the European sports court was expected and it was "not worth waiting for the miracle."

"If the case went to court, then the decision could have not come as an unexpected one," Balakhnichev said in an interview with TASS. "We could not wait for the miracle. However, I do know that the defense for the Russian party [in the case] was very competent."

Although having lost two Olympic medals on Thursday, the Russian national team maintained its fourth place in the overall medal standings of the 2012 Summer Games in London now having 22 gold, 24 silver and 32 bronze medals, behind the United States (46-28-29), China (28-30-21) and Great Britain (29-17-19).

Russian sports was in the center of doping-related scandals since the fall of 2014 and currently control over doping abuse in Russian sports has been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in cooperation with the British anti-doping agency (UKAD) since early February.

WADA’s Independent Commission published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activity of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the RUSADA and the Russian Sports Ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the finding of the agency’s Independent Commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organization.

The WADA Independent Commission was set up and began its work following a series of German documentaries on the alleged mass use of performance enhancing drugs among Russia’s field and track athletes.

Following a series of high-profile doping scandals involving the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) last year, the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) suspended the Russian federation’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward six criteria, which ARAF must implement to restore its membership.

Experts say it is highly possible that Russian national athletics teams will be suspended from the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil this year following the findings from the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Two weeks ago Russian sports was hit by a new case in a chain of doping-related scandals after some of the country’s athletes tested positive for banned substance meldonium.

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