Five Russian race-walkers, including three Olympic Champions and one World Champion, were banned by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for violating doping regulations Tuesday.
Olympic Champions Sergei Kirdyapkin and Olga Kaniskina each received a ban of three years and two months, as did 2011 World Champion Sergei Bakulin. Valery Borchin, an Olympic Champion in 2008, received a suspension for eight years due to the fact that he is now a repeat offender, having been given a one year suspension in 2005 for doping.
The suspensions were based on irregularities in the athletes’ biological passports, which were deemed as an indication that the athletes were using performance enhancing drugs.
Although the bans do not effect any Olympic medals, Kaniskina’s 20K wins from 2009 and 2011, Borchin’s 20K wins from 2009 and 2011, and Kirdyapkin’s win in the 50K from 2009 could be re-awarded, as could Kanaykin’s 20K silver medal from 2011.
Russian Anti-Doping Agency Director General Ramil Khabriyev said the International Olympic Committee and the International Athletics Federation would be making a decision whether to revoke medals from the banned Russian walkers in the coming months.
There could even be further sanctions for Bakulin and Kirdyapkin after it emerged online that they had competed at a Russian meet last month when they were suspended pending the ruling. The International Athletics Federation has confirmed it will be investigating the pair and that they could miss out on the Rio Games in just under a year-and-a-half’s time.
The suspension terms take effect from October 15 2012, meaning that with the exception of Borchin, the other athletes will currently be eligible to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Article by Hugo Lowell