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Russian pentathletes may switch sports nationality amid WADA sanctions, says official

If the sanctions are enforced, Russian athletes will be banned to vie at world championships and Olympic Games under the national flag
President of the Russian Modern Pentathlon Federation Vyacheslav Aminov Mikhail Dzhaparidze/TASS
President of the Russian Modern Pentathlon Federation Vyacheslav Aminov
© Mikhail Dzhaparidze/TASS

MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Sanctions of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against Russian sports may result in the change of the sports nationality among Russia’s national pentathlon athletes, Vyacheslav Aminov, the president of the Russian Modern Pentathlon Federation (RMPF), said on Friday.

"I believe that it may eventually force [Russia’s] young and talented athletes to start setting their sights on other countries," Aminov told journalists after the RMPF session in Moscow on Friday.

Speaking on Thursday at his traditional year-end news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that WADA’s decision in regard to Russian sports was unfair and contradicted the Olympic Charter.

"I do agree that it is a violation of the Olympic Charter," Aminov continued. "Those, who are guilty, must bear the responsibility, while the innocent [clean] athletes be free of any guilt."

"In my opinion, it is total nonsense mixing people, who have nothing to do with doping and have been always clean, in this mess. For instance, these are [Russian] pentathlon athletes, who are thankfully doing okay," Aminov said.

The RMPF president added that the task of the national pentathlon athletes was to win at least two medals at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, as Andrei Moiseyev, the head coach of the Russian national pentathlon team, had promised.

"He [Moiseyev] promised us two Olympic medals — in men and women’s competitions," Aminov stated. "I hope that they [the medals] will not be bronze, which will allow him [Moiseyev] to retain his post. However, if both medals are bronze, I will have to think about it."

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be hosted by the Japanese capital of Tokyo between July 24 and August 9.

During the RMPF session on Friday, Aminov warned about a major reshuffle in the coaching staff of the national team in case Russian athletes performed again at the same level as during the 2019 World Modern Pentathlon Championship in Budapest, where they won only one medal. Russia’s Danil Kalimullin and Alexander Lesun won bronze in men’s relay.

WADA's sanctions against Russia

On December 9, the WADA Executive Committee (ExCo) approved the recommendations of its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to revoke the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and to strip Russia of the right to participate in major international sports tournaments, including the Olympics, Paralympics and world championships, for a period of four years.

The WADA ExCo also ruled that Russia must not host, or bid for hosting any major international sports tournament in the four-year period. Russian state officials, as well as the staff of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC), were banned from attending all major international sports tournaments over the four-year period.

On November 25, the WADA Compliance Review Committee (CRC) reiterated its previous recommendation for the world anti-doping body’s Executive Committee to strip RUSADA of its compliance status and came up with a recommendation of additional sanctions against Russian sports.

The world’s governing anti-doping body announced on September 23 that it had initiated a probe into the compliance status of RUSADA with the organization’s Code based on inconsistencies found in the data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

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).

RUSADA’s response to WADA

On Thursday, the RUSADA Supervisory Board recommended the agency’s Founders Board to disagree with WADA sanctions against Russian sports and to take this case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland’s Lausanne.

Alexander Ivlev, the head of the RUSADA Supervisory Board, reported on Thursday that in 10-15 days RUSADA would provide WADA with an official disagreement against the decision of the global organization on sanctions in regard to Russian sports.