World Athletics consider expelling Russia over faked medical records
By The Associated Press
Last Updated: 22/11/19 8:39pm
The governing body for track and field is considering expelling Russia from membership following new charges that senior officials faked medical records.
Russia Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin and four other senior officials are accused of obstructing the investigation into 2017 world championship silver medalist Danil Lysenko, who was accused last year of failing to make himself available for drug testing.
Lysenko allegedly provided fake medical documents as an alibi with help from the officials. He and his coach have also been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit pending full disciplinary hearings.
Russia has been suspended by World Athletics, formerly known as the IAAF, over widespread doping since 2015. There will be a further review of whether vetted Russians should still be allowed to compete in international events as neutrals.
"I think the view that the council took today on the recommendation of the task force was the right decision. We need to deal with renegade factions like this", World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in Monaco on Friday.
World Athletics has frozen talks about lifting the long-running suspension and asked its Russia task force for recommendations on expelling the country's track federation.
"Its not symbolic", said Coe, who added the charges and suspensions against Russian officials were so wide-ranging that they left the task force with almost nobody left to talk to.
One route could be to close the Russian track federation and set up a new national governing body.
Three-time world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene has also criticised Russian track leaders, saying they have made a doping nightmare even worse. Lasitskene called for swift and radical reforms, and the removal of officials appointed by Shlyakhtin.
Shlyakhtin took office shortly after the federation was suspended from international competition for widespread doping. The suspension remains in place four years later.
"The new team, whose task was to take us out of this doping nightmare, has turned out no better than the old one. And in some ways worse", Lasitskene wrote on Instagram.
"Shlyakhtin and his team must quit their posts immediately and never come back. And I will make sure this happens."
Lasitskene has won two of her three world titles as a neutral athlete as a result of Russia's suspension, which also caused her to miss the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
"Our track and field is in its death throes and we cant procrastinate anymore", she wrote.
"We've lost four years already. Clean athletes are still defenceless and not sure they'll be able to compete tomorrow."
Sports minister Pavel Kolobkov expressed concern about the emergency situation and referred the federation to a ministry commission which could officially withdraw its government recognition.
"The future fate of the track and field federation will be examined", Kolobkov said Friday in a video statement.
"For us now, the main thing is that the training process isn't interrupted. That means all of the athletes will get the help they need to continue the training and competition process."
The Kremlin has said the charges against Shlyakhtin and others won't derail the country's preparations to compete in next years Olympics.
"Undoubtedly, this (situation) requires attention from the sports authorities, and I'm sure they're dealing with it", said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin.
"But I dont see a direct connection with Russia's participation in the Olympics here."
With Shlyakhtin suspended, the federation is set to select an interim president at a board meeting on Saturday.
Russia is also facing a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling next month on whether it manipulated data from a lab in Moscow.