Russia still has “significant work” to do to repair its anti-doping program before its track and field athletes can be considered for reinstatement ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the IAAF said Friday.
The sport’s world governing body said Russia has made progress but not yet done enough to meet the conditions for readmission to global track and field competition. The IAAF will meet again in May for what likely will be a final decision on Russia’s eligibility for the games in August.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe made the announcement at the end of a two-day council meeting in Monaco, where officials examined the efforts of the Russian federation – known as RUSAF – to reform its anti-doping system. The next meeting will be held on an unspecified date in May, three months before the Olympics.
Mikhail Butov, the secretary general of Russia’s track federation who serves on the IAAF council, accepted the decision and said Russia still has time to fulfil the conditions.
The IAAF suspended Russia in November after an independent report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel detailed systematic corruption and doping cover-ups in the country, then laid down a series of criteria for the Russians to meet before they can be eligible for readmission.
Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF task force on Russia, backed Coe’s assessment that Russia still has a long way to go.The work still to be done centers around “interviewing athletes and coaches named in the WADA independent commission report and athletes and coaches who have had anti-doping rule violations recorded against them.
Of Russia’s track and field medalists at the 2012 London Olympics, eight have since either served doping bans or are provisionally suspended. WADA’s initial report was made following allegations made in a documentary by German broadcaster ARD.
The program featured a Russian whistleblower, 800-meter runner Yulia Stepanova, who helped expose the doping scandal. She is hoping to be allowed to compete at the Olympics, though not representing Russia. Stepanova and her husband, a former anti-doping official, left Russia in 2014 after providing undercover footage of apparent doping violations for ARD’s documentary.
ARD aired another documentary Sunday, in which Russian coach Vladimir Mokhnev was accused of continuing to train athletes while he serves an IAAF suspension. The program alleged another coach offered banned substances for sale and that the acting head of the Russian anti-doping agency had allowed an unidentified athlete to reschedule a supposedly no-notice drug test.
Russia is not the only country under serious pressure. Ethiopia and Morocco (both) need to implement as a matter of urgency a robust and adequate national testing program, both in and out of competition.Kenya, Ukraine and Belarus have been put on an IAAF monitoring list for 2016 to ensure their anti-doping programs are significantly strengthened and their journey to compliance completed by the end of this year.
More than 40 Kenyan track athletes have failed drug tests since 2012, and four senior track officials have been suspended by the IAAF for “potential subversion of the anti-doping control process in Kenya.”
Three Ethiopian runners have been suspended on suspicion of doping amid a string of positive tests among the country’s athletes. The Ethiopian Anti-Doping Agency said at least nine athletes were under suspicion.