IAAF doping ban on Russia could be lifted before world championships
World Anti-Doping Agency's analysis of data from Moscow lab may be completed in April
Russia's doping ban from international track and field will remain in place until the Moscow laboratory data has been analyzed, a process that could lead to the country's reinstatement before this year's world championships, starting in late September.
The head of the IAAF's Russia taskforce, Rune Andersen, said Monday he is waiting for the World Anti-Doping Agency to finish analyzing data from the Moscow laboratory at the centre of the doping coverups. The International Association of Athletics Federations also wants Russia to cover the costs of years of doping investigations.
Andersen said any lifting of the ban "might be before, it might be after" the Sept. 27-Oct. 6 world championships in Doha, Qatar, adding "WADA has committed to getting [the data] to the [Athletics Integrity Unit] as a matter of priority."
The AIU prosecutes anti-doping cases in track and field.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UPDATE?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UPDATE</a> The IAAF upholds its ban on Russian athletes over doping that it imposed in November 2015, the 10th time that track and field's world body has kept the ban in place<a href="https://t.co/rPeeAyIaoN">https://t.co/rPeeAyIaoN</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/doping?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#doping</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Russia?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Russia</a>—@AFP_Sport
Any return of the team for the world championships would need Russian authorities to continue their grudging co-operation with WADA.
Russians competing as neutral athletes
After that, WADA wants Russia to hand over athletes' stored doping samples for further testing if the data shows their cases were covered up.
Still looking for answers. The world's governing body for track and field today maintained its ban on Russian athletes. The IOC welcomed back the Russian Olympic Committee after the Pyeongchang Olympics and WADA reinstated Russian's anti-doping committee last Sept <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCOlympics?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCOlympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/Filhzymqft">https://t.co/Filhzymqft</a>—@StephJenzer
Russian high jumper Maria Lasitskene and pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova won gold medals at the European indoor championships this month in Glasgow. Had Russia been competing as an official national team, it would have ranked fifth in the medals table.
Andersen said his taskforce was concerned Russia hadn't done enough to break from coaches who worked with doped athletes.
One notable case is that of Valentin Maslakov, who resigned in January 2015 as Russia's head coach, but is now listed on the sports ministry website as a national team coach for 400-metre runners and hurdlers.
Drug use widespread under Maslakov's watch
"This runs counter to the assurances taskforce has previously received from RusAF that it is disassociating itself from the old regime," Andersen said, using an abbreviation for the Russian track federation. "The taskforce has therefore today written to RusAF and asked for clarifications."
RusAF president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said his federation's debt to the IAAF stands at $3.22 million US and is growing. He added Russia has offered to pay the IAAF in instalments because it has lost sponsors over doping scandals.
Shlyakhtin said Russia would conduct a "serious analysis" of its reliance on coaches who worked in an era when doping was rife.
"I'm sure we will find a solution which will allow the situation to be regulated for the sake of a quick reinstatement of RusAF," Shlyakhtin said.