Friday, February 22, 2019 05:13:10 PM
Twelve Russian track and field athletes, including 2012 Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov, have been suspended for doping, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced on Friday.
The suspensions range between two to eight-year bans, with 2013 world high jump gold medallist Svetlana Shkolina also suspended.
CAS had been ruling in the cases in place of the suspended Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF), and pursued allegations of anti-doping based on evidence from the McLaren report, which uncovered state-sponsored doping in Russia when it was published in 2016.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned Russia from competing in its competitions in November 2015 and last month upheld the country's suspension into 2019, and CAS opened procedures against the suspected dopers "on behalf" of the IAAF.
"In all cases, the athletes have been found guilty of ADRVs (anti-doping rule violations) under the IAAF Rules and individual sanctions have been imposed by the CAS on each of the 12 athletes concerned," CAS said in a statement.
The court added that the decisions, all focusing on offences committed between the London Olympics and 2013 athletics world championships in Moscow, could be appealed.
RUSAF responded with a statement.
"Athletes have 21 days to appeal, all materials will be examined as soon as possible and legal consultations will be organised," it said. "After these consultations, suspended athletes will make their decision on a possible appeal."
The head of the athletics federation Dmitry Shlyakhtin told TASS agency that he blamed Russian whistle blower Grigory Rodchenkov.
"For the moment it's just the decision of the court of first instance, which, as far as I know, was based on the evidence given by Rodchenkov," Shlyakhtin said. "We need to receive the operative part (of the verdict) before taking the decision what to do next," he added.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it "welcomes the decisions".
"These decisions come as welcome news for athletes, anti-doping organisations, WADA and all others around the world who care about clean sport," WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said in a statement.
"This should serve to reassure athletes that a lot of work is being conducted behind the scenes by various organisations that are committed to ensure that justice is rendered."
Niggli said the ruling vindicated the controversial way WADA handled the retrieval of data from the former Moscow anti-doping laboratory.
"This highlights also, once again, just how important the successful retrieval of the analytical data from the former Moscow Laboratory by WADA last month is for clean sport and reinforces the decision taken by the WADA Executive Committee (ExCo) on 20 September 2018 to reinstate as compliant the Russian Anti-Doping Agency."
The 32-year-old Ukhov has been suspended for four years starting immediately, and has seen all his results from 16 July 2012 to 28 July 2015 disqualified, meaning he will lose his Olympic title, 2014 world silver medal and 2014 European bronze.
Ukhov had twice jumped 2.31 metres already in 2019.
American Erik Kynard is set to be upgraded to Olympic champion in Ukhov's place, with three athletes -- Britain's Robbie Grabarz, Canadian Derek Drouin and Qatari star Mutaz Essa Barshim -- to be bumped up from shared bronze to silver.
Shkolina has also been banned for four years and had her results from the same period annulled, leaving American Brigetta Barrett set to inherit gold.
The longest bans, of eight years, were reserved for hammer throwers Gulfiya Agafonova and Tatyana Lysenko, who had been banned twice before for doping offences.
The other bans were handed out to veteran sprinter Tatyana Firova, who was also previously suspended, triple jumper Lyukman Adams, hammer throwers Anna Bulgakova and Mariya Bespalova, shot putter Ivan Yushkov, discus thrower Vera Karmishina-Ganeeva and 100metre hurdles pair Ekaterina Galitskaya and Yuliya Kondakova.
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