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IAAF continues studying Russian track and field athletes’ data from Moscow Anti-Doping Lab

Earlier, the International Weightlifting Federation imposed provisional suspensions against five Russian weightlifters

MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) continues studying data retrieved from the former Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory and is as yet unable to provide the names of suspected Russian track and field athletes, a spokesperson for the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) told TASS on Thursday.

The press office of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced in early July that it suspected 298 Russian athletes of violating anti-doping regulations based on the LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) data retrieved from the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab.

Asked by a TASS correspondent when the names of suspected Russian track and field athletes would be announced, AIU spokesperson Aditya Kumar stated: "The AIU is in the process of analyzing the LIMS data."

"We are unable to make any further comment at this stage," Kumar added.

The Athletics Integrity Unit was established by IAAF in April 2017 with the task to fight doping in the sport of track and field athletics. The AIU, led by Brett Clothier, is operating independently from the world’s governing body of athletics.

Two days ago, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) imposed provisional suspensions against five Russian weightlifters citing violations of anti-doping rules based on the data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

This was the first case of Russian athletes’ suspension by WADA experts based on the data retrieved from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory. The names of the Russian weightlifters at issue are: Ruslan Albegov, David Bedzhanyan, Oleg Chen, Yegor Klimonov and Tima Turiyeva. They have been all provisionally disqualified as of August 12, 2019.

WADA stated in early July that its Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) body compiled evidentiary packages following the reanalysis of the data and these packages were sent to the relevant international sports federations, "which have commenced assessment of the evidence with a view to identifying those cases to take forward as Anti-Doping Rule Violations."

The world’s governing body of track and field athletics suspended the membership of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) in late 2015 following a wave of anti-doping rules violations and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement in order to restore its membership in the global federation.

The IAAF, however, permitted clean athletes from Russia to compete in the international tournaments under the neutral status of the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF was reinstated.

WADA’s work at Moscow Anti-Doping Lab

Specialists from WADA were granted access to the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory in January this year and copied 24 terabytes of information on Russian athletes’ doping samples collected between 2012 and 2015. WADA experts finished their work to retrieve doping samples from the Moscow Lab on April 30 having collected 2,262 doping samples in 4,524 containers (Samples A and B).

The WADA Executive Committee reinstated the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on September 20, 2018 on condition that before December 31, 2018 WADA experts would be granted access to doping samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab, which was sealed off in connection with a federal investigation.

RUSADA Director General Yury Ganus told TASS on August 11 that the data of the reanalyzed doping samples from the Moscow laboratory had already been shared with international sports federations, which would start handing down verdicts after their internal investigations.