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Russian sports minister vows severe penalties if Polyansky’s reported doping abuse is true

Oleg Matytsin stressed that Russia was waging a resolute fight against the doping abuse in sports

MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. The Russian Sports Ministry will resort to the most severe penalties in regard to national Olympic triathlete Igor Polyansky if his suspected doping abuse case is proved to be true, Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said on Friday.

The world’s governing body of triathlon, World Triathlon, announced earlier in the day that a doping test of Russian Olympic triathlete Polyansky returned a positive result for a banned substance, Erythropoietin.

Polyansky’s doping sample was collected on July 21 during the out-of-competition period in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, where national athletes gathered for a training camp ahead of the Olympic Games in Japan. The Russian triathlete has now the right to ask for the analysis of his Sample B or can appeal the result of the doping case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland’s Lausanne.

"This situation is more than alarming," Matytsin told journalists. "We have immediately reached the Russian Triathlon Federation and I spoke today with the federation’s president."

"We will resort to the most severe penalties if this reported case turns out to be true," the minister continued. "It is extremely disappointing that this single case may cast a shadow on the successful performance of the whole national team [at 2020 Tokyo Olympics]."

"If it turns out that someone else was involved in this case, we would employ our most harsh sanctions," Matytsin said. "We are working jointly on this issue and I hope that this single and embarrassing case would not cast a shadow on the overall [anti-doping fight] situation in Russia."

"We are waging a resolute fight against the doping abuse in sports," he stated. "I am sure that if this case turns out to be true, it will be a singular case."

Participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, Russia’s 31-year-old triathlete Polyansky finished 43rd in the individual competition and in 14th place of the mixed relay event jointly with his elder brother Dmitry Polyansky, Alexandra Razarenova and Anastasia Gorbunova.

Reached by a TASS correspondent earlier in the day, World Triathlon’s press office announced that the result of Team ROC (the Russian Olympic Committee) in the 2020 Olympic mixed team relay event would be annulled if Polyansky was disqualified.

"If the case against Mr. Igor Polyansky ends up with him being sanctioned, he will be DSQ [disqualified] and therefore the ROC team [in mixed team relay event] will also be DSQ from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics," World Triathlon press service said in a statement for TASS.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan’s capital of Tokyo were held this year between July 23 and August 8. In March 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan for one year due to the spread of COVID-19.

The team of Russian athletes finished fifth in the overall medal standings, with 71 Olympic medals, including 20 gold, 28 silver, and 23 bronze ones.

Russia at Tokyo-2020

On July 6, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) published an approved list of 335 athletes, who were selected to represent the country at the Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic delegation of Russian athletes in Tokyo included 185 female and 150 male athletes.

Russian athletes competed in Tokyo under the flag and logo of the Russian National Olympic Committee (ROC) instead of the Russian national flag and state emblem. Additionally, the national anthem of Russia was under sanctions at the Olympics in Japan and so ROC athletes received their gold medals to the tune of the First Piano Concerto by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

Sanctions against Russian sports

On December 17, 2020, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland’s Lausanne partially upheld WADA’s (the World Anti-Doping Agency) previous ruling on a number of sanctions against Russian sports.

Following the CAS decision, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for a two-year period.

The ruling of the Swiss-based court also stripped Russia of the right to bid for the organization of all international sports tournaments for a period of two years. WADA’s sanctions will be in force until December 2022.