© Copyright – 2020 – Athletics Illustrated
Currently, there are at least 79 nations that have at least one ineligible athlete or athlete support personnel in the sport of athletics. They are suspended or provisionally suspended primarily due to positive doping tests, Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) anomalies, and missed whereabouts reporting at least three times during a 12-month period.
Some of the cases are appealable. The suspensions typically vary in length from two years to four years, however, there are shorter and longer sentences as well as some that are backdated to an original test date, for example, the 2012 London Olympic Games. The statute of limitations on the London Games passes in August 2020.
Many countries have just one or a small handful of currently suspended athletes.
There are a few nations that have too many. The top 5-7 should be suspended in the same manner that Russia is currently banned from participating in global events. They include Ukraine with 30 ineligible athletes or personnel, Turkey with 32, Morocco with 35, India 36, Kenya 53, Italy 25 and China with 31.
The USA currently has 17, while the Republic of South Africa 16.
Some places are easier to get into for out-of-competition testing than others, while some countries accept testing as a positive cost of demonstrating a clean bill of health. Some don’t.
While Kenya has 53 people under suspension, neighbouring Ethiopia, a more closed society, would likely have more than just seven as currently reported by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). Within their ability, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the AIU need to get into Ethiopia for out of competition testing. Their domination is no less suspect than Morocco’s or Kenya’s.
For athletics to be respected, the sport needs to be cleaned up. No athlete of any stature should be treated any differently than those from the apparently cleanest countries like Norway, Finland, Denmark, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Japan and the Netherlands to name a few.