The Russian track and field federation said Sunday it’s cooperating with an investigation into allegations its officials submitted forged paperwork in a doping case.
British newspaper The Sunday Times reported that documents from a fake clinic were filed to the Athletics Integrity Unit, which investigates doping cases, as evidence an athlete was too ill to update anti-doping officials on his whereabouts.
The case could derail Russia‘s efforts to end its suspension from international track and field in time for next year’s Olympics. Track’s world governing body, the IAAF, is due to rule next week on whether to maintain the ban.
The athlete in question is world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko. The 22-year-old is widely considered one of Russia’s best young athletes and was one of dozens of top Russians with IAAF-issue “neutral status,” allowing him to compete internationally.
However, last year he was suspended on accusations of failing to make himself available for drug testing by giving accurate updates on his whereabouts.
Failing to do so three times in 12 months generally leads to a ban, but sanctions can be reduced or removed altogether if there are mitigating circumstances such as serious illness.
“In the case of Lysenko, the federation is providing full assistance to the Athletics Integrity Unit and we are in contact and cooperation,” federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said in a statement, adding that the federation “has an interest in the investigation being objective.”
The federation didn’t comment when asked whether any of its staff were suspended.
The AIU confirmed it is investigating a Russian athlete’s explanation in a whereabouts case, but didn’t give further details.
“The IAAF is sticking to the process we have followed since RUSAF was suspended,” the IAAF said using an abbreviation for the Russian federation. “The (IAAF’s Russia task force) will prepare a report on all relevant matters and a recommendation for the IAAF council, which will meet in Monaco on June 8 and 9.”
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