GENEVA – Russian track and field athletes may be banned from a second straight Summer Olympics after the Athletics Integrity Unit recommended severe sanctions be imposed on the Russian Athletics Federation on Wednesday.
The AIU ordered the national federation to admit its complicity in doping offenses and to show contrition while referring the anti-doping matter to the World Athletics Council with a recommendation that a suspension of the “authorized neutral athlete” process remains in place.
It also said consideration should be given to expelling the Russian federation from the world body.
The situation could result in no Russians being allowed to compete as neutrals in athletics disciplines at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, at which they are already unable to enter under the country’s flag.
All but one Russian athletics competitor was banned from competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Only long-jumper Darya Klishina was permitted to compete at the Rio Games after her ban was struck down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport shortly before she was due to compete.
The AIU urged World Athletics to consider expelling the Russian federation unless it accepts that senior officials forged documents and lied in an attempt to help world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko escape a doping ban.
The AIU Board was not satisfied with explanations provided by RUSAF in connection with the Lysenko case.
Lysenko missed three drug tests and allegedly provided fake medical documents as an alibi. He lost his neutral status in 2018.
The AIU said in a statement published on Wednesday that the federation had ample time to put forward “any material or evidence that it contends answers the AIU’s case against it.”
“The AIU Board finds it regrettable that, in the face of clear and compelling evidence, RUSAF has chosen not to admit to the acts and omissions of the employees, directors and representatives of RUSAF for which it is liable under the Anti-Doping Rules,” the statement said.
The AIU is an independent body set up by World Athletics to handle integrity-related matters — both doping and non-doping — for the sport.
World Athletics said the charges brought by the AIU against RUSAF are “extremely serious,” and it will review the files submitted to it by the AIU in the coming days.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.