Text: Hugo Lovell
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) said on Tuesday the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had informed them that 14 of the country’s athletes have been suspected of doping at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The ROC confirmed they had received the “respective documents” from the IOC showing a number of prominent individuals, majority of whom competed in track and field, had recorded adverse analytical findings.
“14 Russian athletes in three disciplines gave a positive result,” the ROC said in a statement, before adding it would not name the suspected athletes before their secondary ‘B’ samples were tested and disciplinary proceedings started.
It is thought, however, that Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is among those suspected athletes, after her coach Yevgeny Zagorulko told Russian news agency Tass that Chicherova had been notified of a failed test.
“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympics tested positive after a re-check and she called me,” Zagorulko said.“So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”
Chicherova won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a personal best of 2.03 metres behind Tia Hellebaut of Belgium, before later becoming Olympic champion at the 2012 London Games.
The IOC last week announced 31 athletes in six sports had recorded adverse analytical findings, following the retesting of 454 urine samples. Athletes expected to compete at this summer’s Rio Olympics were specifically targeted.
The latest developments will complicate Russia’s campaign to prove it is compliant with anti-doping standards after being suspended from international completion last year by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The suspension was in response to the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation, which uncovered detailed systematic, state-sponsored doping in the country.
A decision on whether Russia will be reinstated in time for the Olympics, which begin in less than three months’ time, has been set for June 17.