Russia has been warned that its track and field athletes face a blanket ban from the Tokyo Olympics – unless it accepts senior officials forged documents and lied in an attempt to help a world champion escape a doping ban.
World Athletics issued the ultimatum after a report from the Athletics Integrity Unit found the Russian Athletics Federation had shown no contrition following its staff being charged with anti-doping offences after conspiring with the 2018 world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko who had missed three doping tests.
The AIU said a responsible member federation “would have admitted the charges and shown contrition for its conduct, but Rusaf has chosen to do neither”. It added: “Instead, Rusaf has gone to great lengths to deny any involvement in the matter, blame others and attack the process. This approach is deeply concerning for the AIU Board as it seems to indicate that the current leadership of the federation is merely a continuation of the former.”
In a statement World Athletics said that if Rusaf continued its “blanket denials approach” over the Lysenko case it would go to the court of arbitration for sport to get the federation thrown out of the sport.
World Athletics also confirmed it would not consider any applications for “authorised neutral athlete” status for the 2020 season unless Rusaf and its former officials admitted the charges against them.
A total of 29 Authorised Neutral Athletes from Russia competed at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha in October, winning six medals.
In a statement, World Athletics said that if Rusaf admitted fault its council would decide on a new process, that would result in the federation and Russian athletes being given another chance, next month.
Meanwhile another top British coach has joined Malcolm Arnold in severely criticising UK Athletics for its terrible performances at London 2012. Max Jones, who led the British Athletics team at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, said he was “astonished” that UK Sport continued to fund UKA given that athletics had gone backwards.
Speaking to the Track and Field Stats and Research website, Jones said: “What I’m constantly astonished at is that no account is taken of the £100+ millions of lottery money that has been invested in the sport over the last 20 years.
“We are no further on than 25 years ago and certainly have gone backwards from 25-40 years ago and that at a time when we don’t have to face a ‘stoked up’ Russia! When will UK Sport wake up to the fact that ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?’
“To use a housebuilders’ analogy, they spend far too much on building the roof (the elite) while neglecting the foundations (grassroots) which will ultimately lead to a slowdown in talent emerging and therefore less talent to work with.”
On Tuesday Arnold, who was British Athletics head coach at the 1996 Olympics, told the Guardian that UKA was guilty of a “dreadful neglect” of the sport since 2012.
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