Russia banned again from World Athletics Championships

IAAF President Sebastian Coe and Rune Andersen, the independent chairman of the IAAF Taskforce investigating the Russian Athletics Federation. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

The International Association of Athletics Federations has banned Russia from competing in this year’s World Athletics Championships, in a decision linked to ongoing investigations into doping by Russian athletes.

The Russian athletics federation (Rusaf) was suspended by the IAAF in November 2015 after a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency found evidence of widespread doping by Russian athletes. An IAAF task force assessing the matter recommended yesterday that Rusaf was not ready to be reinstated.

This year’s World Championships take place in Doha, Qatar, beginning September 27. It is the second time in a row that the Russian team will miss the event, having also been banned from the 2015 championships in Beijing.

Also yesterday, Wada gave the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) and the Russian Ministry of Sport three weeks to address “inconsistencies” in historical data supplied by the agency, a move which threatens the team’s participation in the 2020 Olympics.

Reuters reported that Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF task force overseeing Rusaf’s reinstatement, said: “We are aware of the allegations of manipulation of the data and that an investigation is ongoing. In the light of that the task force recommended that Rusaf not be reinstated and the IAAF council unanimously agreed.”

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said there had been strong agreement among the federation’s council members to follow the task force’s recommendation: “No one country is bigger than the championships. It does not remotely surprise me that the council unanimously endorsed the strongest recommendation we have probably had thus far that the Russian federation remain suspended.

“The responsibility of an international federation is to maintain where possible the level playing field in competition.”

Reuters reports that Russian authorities have denied there has been a state-sponsored doping programme, but accepted that some officials have been involved in supplying athletes with banned substances.