The needle and the damage done: IAAF Commission Investigation to be revealed

November 5, 2015 1

Read: Ban Russia Now.

© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

Richard Pound, the founder and past President of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) will announce from Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, November 9th what he and his colleagues have discovered in their investigation of alleged systematic doping in Russia, titled, “How Russia Makes Champions.”

Pound and fellow Canadian Lawyer Richard McLaren and German Günter Younger were commissioned to investigate what ARD Television’s Hajo Seppelt had revealed in their German language broadcast of systematic doping going on in Russia.

Pound told Athletics Illustrated, “We will not be revealing any information while the investigation is ongoing.”

The investigation started in January 2015.

The WADA announcement comes on the same day that French authorities have place past President of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Lamine Diack under investigation for allegedly taking payment from Russia to hide positive doping tests.

Meanwhile the doctor who was responsible for anti-doping in the IAAF has been charged with corruption. Dr. Gabriel Dolle was arrested, and then released on bail.

At the start of the investigation the son of Lamine Diack, Papa Massata Diack stepped down under a cloud of controversy as he has been implicated in an apparent bribery scandal. Details of which have been hushed as his law firm wrote a letter to Athletics Illustrated demanding the article be removed.

The allegations that are now common knowledge assert that Diack requested a $5 million payment – $440,000USD of it in cash – from Qatar during the race to host the 2017 IAAF World Track and Field Championships October 2011. There does not appear to be evidence that the payment was made and Qatar did not win that bid, they won the subsequent bid for the 2019 meet.

Valentin Balakhnichev, president of the Russian athletics federation and the IAAF’s treasurer, agreed to step down at the same time as Diack.

It will be very interesting to find out if the allegations prove to be true and if any of these men are reinstated.

In August 2015 new allegations arising from the leak of IAAF data showing the results of 12,359 blood tests given by more than 5,000 athletes over an 11-year period starting in 2001 have now been made by the same TV station as well as the Sunday Times in London.

More than 800 athletes had given blood samples that were “highly suggestive” of doping or “abnormal”, it was reported, with a third of medals in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships over the period, consisting of 55 golds at events including the London 2012 Olympic Games, won by athletes who submitted such samples.

In May, race-walker Tatyana Akulinushkina received a four-year ban for doping, starting March 1st 2015; her second doping sanction. She is just 21-years-of-age. She tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide, which is typically used to mask other doping agents.

In cruel irony, a Russian who wanted to work for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada), Vitaliy Stepanov to rid the sport of doping ended up helping his wife, who is an athlete, to dope. She is a world-class 800-metre runner. Yuliya, and Vitaliy have since gone into hiding after agreeing to spill the beans on German television with ARD.

In an op-ed piece from January 2015 I wrote the headline, “To the IAAF: Ban Russia Now,” in regards to their apparent systematic doping of an estimated 90-99% of their athletes, depending on who you quote. This was brought to light during the documentary, where two Russian athletes admitted to doping and one, marathon runner Lilia Shobukhova said she paid a $600,000 bribe to cover up a positive test, to Russian authorities, no less.

Twenty-six Russian walkers have been banned for doping. Twenty of those, including Akulinushkina, trained under national coach Viktor Chegin, who is now under investigation by the IAAF and according to them will be sanctioned.

Currently there are at least 70 Russian athletes serving suspensions for doping related infractions, this is far and away the most in the world and is offensive to the fair play credo of sport.

It will be very interesting to find out if the allegations prove to be true and if any of the men are reinstated and the athletes exonerated.

Read: Ban Russia Now.

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