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Russian runner Gushchina claims to be victim of whistleblower Rodchenkov’s manipulations

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled to impose a four-year suspension in regard to the Russian track and field athlete based on the reanalysis of her doping samples from the 2012 Olympics in London
Yulia Gushchina EPA/PAULO NOVAIS
Yulia Gushchina

MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS, Artyom Kuznetsov/. Russian runner Yulia Gushchina maintains her stance that she is not guilty of violating anti-doping rules and says her penalty was a result of illegal manipulations by Grigory Rodchenkov, an ex-head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, her coach Valentin Maslakov told TASS on Wednesday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled to impose between two- and four-year suspensions in regard to Russian track and field athletes Yulia Gushchina and Anna Nazarova based on the reanalysis of their doping samples from the 2012 Olympics in London.

"CAS declined to meet her [Gushchina] halfway although she had her own objections and doubts," Maslakov said. "This case is connected with Rodchenkov. All of this is a fake."

"She [Gushchina] maintains that she competed honestly and there should be no claims at all in her regard," the coach added.

Short-distance runner Gushchina, 36, (100-, 200- and 400-meter running) has been slapped with a four-year suspension after her doping test from the 2012 Olympics tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug.

The four-year suspension of the Russian runner comes into force starting March 27, 2017, and all results showed by Gushchina between September 1, 2011 and December 31, 2014, were declared by the Swiss-based court as invalid.

Maslakov also revealed in an interview with TASS that Gushchina would not return to sports after her suspension term expired.

"It has been a long time already since she was on a training session last time, perhaps four years," Maslakov stated. "It means that she wrapped up her sports career a long time ago and is not paying attention at all to the recent developments. She has no plans of making a comeback and lives her life."

Gushchina is the 2008 world champion in indoor 4x400m relay, the 2006 European champion in 4x100m relay and silver medalist of the 2006 European Championships in 200m sprint.

Russian track and field athletes remain in a particular focus of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), as the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) is trying to reinstate its membership status with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Whistleblower Rodchenkov and his doping allegations

Rodchenkov told Western media in the spring of 2016 that Russian athletes largely used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval of the national sports authorities.

On the whole, the ex-doping official claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home during Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

The former chief of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory also informed WADA about the so-called list of Russian athletes, who on the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics allegedly used a doping cocktail that he concocted himself and named after a popular Soviet-era soft drink, ‘Duchess Cocktail.’

On June 8, 2016, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against Rodchenkov on the charges of power abuse. On September 21, 2017 Moscow’s Basmanny District Court arrested him in absentia.

In November 2017, the Russian Investigative Committee announced that it would seek the extradition of Rodchenkov, who absconded to the United States in 2015. In addition, an obstruction of justice charges were filed against him. He was also put on the international wanted list.