February 1, 2019 / 4:22 PM / 8 months ago

Doping: London 2012 high jump champion Ukhov among 12 Russians banned

LONDON (Reuters) - London 2012 Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov is among 12 Russian track and field athletes to be handed doping bans by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) acting for the IAAF in the absence of the banned Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF).

Athletics - Russian Olympians Cup - Men's high jump - Brothers Znamensky Olympic Centre, Moscow, Russia, 28/7/16. Ivan Ukhov of Russia competes. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Ukhov and Svetlana Shkolina, who won high jump bronze in 2012 and gold at the 2013 world championships, were given four-year bans on Friday, starting from Feb. 1 2019, and retrospectively disqualified, meaning they will be stripped of their medals.

American Erik Kynard is expected to be promoted to gold in the 2012 Olympic men’s event while compatriot Brigetta Barrett, who took silver in London, is in line to be promoted to world champion after finishing second in Moscow.

Double world champion and former world record holder hammer thrower Tatyana Lysenko, who had previously been stripped of her 2012 Olympic gold, was given an eight-year ban for a second offense, as was fellow hammer thrower Gulfiya Agafonova.

CAS said the 12 athletes “participated in and/or benefited from anabolic steroid doping programs and benefited from specific protective methods”.

The athletes can appeal their cases to a separate division of CAS, and Russian officials said they were awaiting CAS’s full decisions in the cases before deciding on any action.

“So far, the decision has been made by the first instance authority which, as far as I know, made it on the basis of (Russian whistle blower Grigory) Rodchenkov’s testimony. Now we need to wait for the substantive part (of the court’s decision), after which we will think what to do,” Russian athletics chief Dmitry Shlyakhtin told TASS news agency.

The decisions were the first case of CAS issuing disciplinary procedures since it replaced the RUSAF in hearing cases after its suspension by the IAAF which remains in force.

The cases are based mainly on evidence gathered in an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report carried out by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren and the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which was set up in 2017 to act independently from the IAAF.

“Today’s CAS rulings confirm that the evidence underlying the McLaren Reports is reliable and is capable of establishing Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs),” AIU head Brett Clothier said in a statement that also said CAS’s decision established that the violations were committed as part of a centralized doping scheme.

“It needs to be noted that some of these cases were fought solely on the basis of the McLaren evidence, while others were combined with analytical evidence gathered through re-testing. It is very encouraging for us and gives us the possibility to pursue more cases in the future.”

WADA also praised the decisions.

“This should serve to reassure athletes that a lot of work is being conducted behind the scenes by various organizations that are committed to ensure that justice is rendered,” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said in a statement.

“It reinforces the importance of ensuring that due process is followed and that evidence is carefully presented.

“This creates an important precedent that will be used in future cases.”

The bans are the latest in a long line handed down to Russians across a range of sports since widespread and organized doping was uncovered.

Russian authorities have denied that it was “state-sponsored” but have accepted that many senior officials were involved either in providing the illegal products or interfering with anti-doping procedures and covering up positive tests.

WADA last month finally gained access to data held in a Moscow laboratory, the last condition for making Russia’s anti-doping agency compliant, that is expected to produce more retrospective positive tests.

“The data is crucial to build strong cases against cheats and exonerate other athletes suspected of having participated in widespread doping in Russia,” Clothier said.

The banned athletes are:

Tatyana Firova (400m) - four-year ban from June 9 2016

Svetlana Shkolina (high jump) - four-year ban from Feb. 1 2019

Ivan Ukhov (high jump) - four-year ban from Feb. 1 2019

Lyukman Adams (triple jump) - four-year ban from Jan. 31 2019

Anna Bulgakova (hammer throw) - four-year ban from March 29 2017

Gulfiya Agafonova-Khanafeeva (hammer throw) - eight-year ban from Jan. 6 2017

Tatyana Lysenko Beloborodva (hammer throw) - eight-year ban from July 2 2016

Ivan Yushkov (shot put) - four-year ban from July 2 2016

Mariya Bespalova (hammer throw) - already suspended since 26 October 2015

Vera Ganeeva (discus) - two-year ban from July 2 2018

Yekaterina Galitskaia (100m hurdles) - four-year ban from Feb. 1 2019

Yuliya Kondakova (100m hurdles) - four-year ban from Feb. 1 2019

Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Additional reporting by Gene Cherry; Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond

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