Up to 70 Russian athletes could face doping charges

Sports
Yuri Ganus

FILE – In this Jan. 22, 2019 file photo, Russian National Anti-doping Agency RUSADA head Yuri Ganus speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia. The number of Russian athletes accused of receiving banned treatments from a doctor could rise to 70, the country’s anti-doping agency said Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — The number of Russian athletes accused of receiving banned treatments from a doctor could rise to 70, the country’s anti-doping agency said Wednesday.

The agency, known as RUSADA, previously said Monday it would file cases against 33 athletes from numerous sports suspected of receiving banned intravenous infusions.

RUSADA chief executive Yuri Ganus said that is just the “first package” of cases and a planned second package could take the number to 70.

The cases are all linked to a sports academy in central Russia’s Chuvashia region, a major center for track and field. RUSADA said many of the athletes were underage when they were given the infusions and some come from cycling, skiing and Paralympic sports.

They come as Russia seeks to have its ban from international track and field lifted in time to field a full team at the world championships in September and October. The Russian track federation has been banned since 2015 for widespread doping, though dozens from the country are allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

Ganus accused the Russian track federation, known as RusAF, of prioritizing cosmetic reforms over real cultural change.

“Over the course of four years we’ve spent a lot of time presenting athletics in a beautiful condition,” Ganus said. “We have enough material to say that RusAF cannot be reinstated in its current condition.”

Ganus also revealed that RUSADA is under two investigations from Russian authorities into its own conduct.

Ganus said Russian prosecutors were investigating a complaint that RUSADA employees exceeded their authority while looking into whether high jumper Danil Lysenko presented forged medical documents as an alibi for failing to notify drug testers of his whereabouts. Ganus said he believed the case originated with a complaint from someone unhappy with RUSADA’s work on doping cases.

The other matter involves tax authorities looking into a contract signed between RUSADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency, Ganus said.

RUSADA was reinstated by WADA last year, in the face of criticism from some Western athletes who believed Russia had not done enough to reform. Since then, RUSADA has increased its level of drug testing and pursued high-profile investigations into cases such as that of Lysenko and of seven athletes accused of training in secret in Kyrgyzstan with a banned coach.

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This story has been corrected to show that RUSADA said it was pursuing the first cases on Monday, not last week.

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