Russia’s track federation out: Russia Track Suspended

Published: November 15, 2015

Russia’s track federation out: Russia Track Suspended, The ban, which will keep Russian athletes out of all sanctioned international track and field events worldwide, and could disrupt preparations for next summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, will remain in place while the case is considered more fully. The ruling also stripped Russia of the right to host next year’s world race walking team championships in Cheboksary and the world junior championships in Kazan.

The council for the International Association of Athletics Federations, which is led by a new president, Sebastian Coe, met via teleconference Friday and voted 22 to 1 to suspend Russia. Mikhail Butov, a council member from Russia, was allowed to state the case against a ban, but not to vote.

“We discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world,” Mr. Coe said in a statement. “This has been a shameful wake-up call, and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated.”

Jenny Simpson, a former world 1500-meter champion from the United States agreed. “At the highest level they’ve failed me personally and they’ve failed every athlete in the sport, and I’m glad to hear they feel that way because I feel at least admitting it is the first step to cleaning it up,” she said by telephone on Friday.

The World Anti-Doping Agency released a 323-page report Monday that laid out an extensive state-sponsored doping program in Russia. The report recommended that Russia be suspended from the 2016 Olympics if it did not impose radical improvements to its antidoping efforts. It also recommended that five athletes, including the gold medal winner Mariya Savinova, and five officials be barred for life.

Lamine Diack of Senegal, the president of the I.A.A.F. for 16 years before choosing not to stand for re-election in August, is under criminal investigation in France over accusations he demanded bribes to cover up Russian doping cases

National federations have been suspended from international bodies over governance issues, but the move to suspend a national federation because of doping was without precedent in track and field.

“This is a very new and uncomfortable space for sport: the family disciplining its own,” Richard Ings, a former chief executive of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, said in an email. “Those cozy international sport cocktail parties will be a little icier. They aren’t used to turning on family.”

Still, it is far from certain that Russian track and field athletes will be banned from the Summer Games in August 2016. Russia will have to show compliance with WADA doping regulations to return to competition. Track and Olympics officials have said they believe Russia could meet these conditions in time to compete in the 2016 Summer Games.


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