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Russia should fully and completely serve the initial suspension that was handed down by the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics). Six years after the initial ban, chaos continues.

Currently, Russian athletes are able to participate at the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Olympic Games under the name “ROC” which indicates Russian Olympic Committee.

The details were announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC).

What happened to the Moscow laboratory data?

The CRC guidelines are in part supported by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for the manipulation of the Moscow Laboratory data that was stored in a mainframe computer. The CRC was delayed several times from entering the lab to extract data as part of the process for being reinstated. They failed in their compliance and are being let off.

In November 2019, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) publicly claimed that the organisation fully supports the strongest sanctions against those responsible for the manipulation of the Moscow Laboratory data.

A statement from the IOC condemned the “flagrant manipulation” as “an attack on the credibility of sport itself and is an insult to the sporting movement worldwide”.

WADA’s CRC recommended a four-year sanction against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), following “an extremely serious case of non-compliance with the requirement to provide an authentic copy of the Moscow data, with several aggravating features”.

WADA had demanded the Russian Sports Ministry and RUSADA explain “inconsistencies” it found in the data when it opened a compliance procedure against the body, first suspended in 2015 before being reinstated in 2018, in September.

Russia was ordered to address the differences between the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) database provided by a whistleblower in October 2017 and the version WADA extracted from the facility in January.

The WADA CRC determined the data was “neither complete nor fully authentic” after reports from experts, adding further significant deletions and or alterations had been made in December 2018 and January 2019.

The Danil Lysenko affair

The AIU suspended former Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) officials Elena Ikonnikova and Elena Orlova for six and eight years, respectively. They are banned due to their participation in obstructing an anti-doping investigation of world champion high jumper Danil Lysenko. The suspension was handed down in November 2020 after the RusAF suspension was renewed. The malfeasance continued unabated.

A total of five former senior RusAF officials, which also includes Alexander Parkin executive director, Elena Ikonnikova anti-doping coordinator, and Elena Orlova senior administrator, have been banned for four years by World Athletics for anti-doping offenses.

AIU chairman David Howan said, “These are important decisions for the sport of athletics. The AIU was created to be a fearless and independent organisation. Our work in uncovering the conspiracy and fraudulent behaviour, in this case, demonstrates that the AIU is fulfilling its role to make cheats accountable, irrespective of their stature or standing.”

The charges are in regards to the submission of forged documents and false explanations to the AIU and their conduct during a 15-month AIU investigation into a whereabouts case against world champion high jumper, Danil Lysenko. The athlete and his coach Evgeniy Zagorulko were also charged. 

Russians continue to dope

Russian news agency TASS reported that Russian athletes had broken at least 72 anti-doping rules in 2020.

Apparently the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) investigated 202 in all of 2019. And of course there is the Lysenko case.

Thirty-eight of the rule violations were missed tests and 34 in not providing information about the athlete’s location.

Missing three tests in a 12-month period is an anti-doping rule violation and offending athletes are then subject to suspension.

Russian athletes as well as officials with the Russian Anti-doping Agency and the Russian Athletics Federation have all proven to continue to be non-compliant. Nothing in their attitude has changed from the date of their original suspension in 2015 to late 2020. There is little to no improvement in the culture of cheating. Therefore, the Russian Athletics Federation should continue to serve its suspension fully and completely. There should be no “independent athletes” and no athletes competing under the brand “ROC.”