Athletics: Russia's doping ban stays

World athletics body wants terms met before allowing return to international competition

IAAF President Sebastian Coe and Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF taskforce on Russia at a press conference in Monaco on Dec 4, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

MONACO • The governing body of world athletics yesterday maintained Russia's ban from track and field over mass state-backed doping, citing two conditions before the powerhouse nation can return to international competition.

Rune Andersen, head of the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) task force on the country, said the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada), had to grant access to data from the testing of samples at a Moscow laboratory from 2011 to 2015 and also pay for the IAAF's costs.

Access to the samples would hand the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the independent body that manages all doping and non-doping integrity-related matters in the sport, the opportunity to determine whether any suspicious findings should be investigated.

"I hope they'll deliver the data by the end of this year," Andersen said of the samples.

"But I cannot go any further than that. We've received no assurances it will be delivered to us directly.

"Assurances have been given to Wada (World Anti-Doping Agency) and Wada has set a deadline of Dec 31 to receive the data. We'll have to rely on receiving the data from Wada before handing it to the AIU."

The IAAF's decision means Russia will not be able to compete under its own flag at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow next February, with the IAAF Council not scheduled to meet again until March.

Russia's athletics federation (Rusaf) was initially banned by the IAAF in November 2015 over allegations of widespread government-backed doping fraud.

Its athletics team was subsequently barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and also missed the IAAF World Championships in London a year later.

Some Russian athletes, however, have been granted permission by the IAAF to compete as neutrals after meeting the exceptional eligibility criteria by demonstrating that they have come through transparent anti-doping testing.

A full Russian athletics delegation last competed at the 2015 Beijing World Championships. Since then, one Russian competed in Rio, 19 at the London championships and 72 at the European championships in Berlin in August.

Wada had drawn heavy international criticism for voting to declare Rusada "compliant" in September, before being granted access to the raw data from Moscow.

However, it has promised it will impose new sanctions if Russia does not cooperate by Dec 31. A team visited the Russian capital last week with another due next week to carry out an audit.

"I am not surprised, but we had hopes because the federation has done lots of work," Dmitry Shlyakhtin, president of Russia's athletics federation, told Tass.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2018, with the headline Athletics: Russia's doping ban stays. Subscribe