State TV says 14 Russians on list for Olympic doping
Moscow — Ten medalists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including 2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova, were among 14 Russians that tested positive in the reanalysis of their doping samples, state television reported Tuesday.
Match TV said 11 of the 14 athletes on its retest list are from track and field, including 4x100-meter relay gold medalist Yulia Chermoshanskaya. The others are two weightlifters and a rower.
Separately, the Russian track federation said it would ban former dopers from the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in the hope of getting its team reinstated for the games. The IAAF suspended the track federation from global competition after a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report detailed state-sponsored doping.
“No potential participant in the Olympic Games who has been caught taking banned substances in previous years can be a member of the Russian national Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro,” the federation said in a statement.
It said it took “such a tough decision with one aim - to do everything so that clean athletes could take part in the 2016 Olympic Games.”
Two Russian gold medalists in race walking, Elena Lashmanova and Olga Kaniskina, would be affected by the new rule, as would former world champion walker Sergei Kirdyapkin, who was stripped of his 2012 Olympic gold for doping. All three were due to be eligible to compete in Rio.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, however, suggested exceptions could be made. “Each breach of the rules is obviously different,” he told reporters. “If there’s a young athlete who was 16 or 17, a minor breach, then you have to approach it rationally.”
The IAAF will rule next month whether to maintain or lift its ban.
If Chermoshanskaya is disqualified from the 2008 Games, the relay gold medal would pass to Belgium, with silver for Nigeria and bronze for Brazil.
The list of 14 also includes Chicherova, who won the high jump bronze in Beijing before winning gold at the 2012 London Games.
Silver medal winners whose doping retests reportedly came back positive are javelin thrower Maria Abakumova, 4x400 relay runners Anastasia Kapachinskaya and Tatiana Firova, and weightlifter Maria Shainova, the report said.
Bronze medalists included Ekaterina Volkova in the 3,000 steeplechase, men’s 4x400 relay team member Denis Alexeyev, race walker Denis Nizhegorodov and weightlifter Nadezhda Yevstukhina.
Match TV, a Russian state sports channel founded last year, did not say how it obtained the 14 names. Both the IOC and track and field’s world governing body have declined to comment on leaked names until formal charges are made.
In a statement, the Russian Olympic Committee confirmed it had received a list of 14 athletes who showed positive results, but said it would not release the names until the “B’’ samples were tested. The committee said it would send its officials to observe the “B’’ sample testing.
Chicherova was quoted by Match TV as saying she was “in the same shock as everyone else” when she received official notification of her positive test.
“Perhaps it’s just a mistake,” she said. “I can’t explain how my doping test gave a positive result. I’ve competed a lot since then and given hundreds of samples.”
The IOC said last week that 31 athletes could be barred from this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after being caught in the reanalysis of Beijing samples. It said the athletes came from six sports and 12 countries, but declined to give names, citing legal reasons.
The IOC and track and field’s governing body said they could not comment because the investigation was ongoing.
The IOC has said athletes’ “B’’ samples would be retested in early June. A formal positive case is not declared until the “B’’ sample confirms the original finding.
The IOC said that, before reallocating any medals, it would retest samples of any athletes who stand to move up in the medals.
Chicherova won the high jump bronze medal in Beijing, clearing a personal best 2.03 meters to finish behind winner Tia Hellebaut of Belgium and Blanka Vlasic of Croatia. Another Russian, Yelena Slesarenko, finished fourth.
Chicherova won the gold in London, clearing 2.05 meters. She was also world champion in 2011.
The IOC also retested 250 samples from the London Olympics and is still awaiting those results. The retests targeted athletes who competed in Beijing or London and were hoping to participate in Rio in August.
The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years to reanalyze them when newer methods become available.