Russia pays doping price with IAAF ban

David Cooper 14/11/2015
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Big decisions: Sebastian Coe.

Russia has been provisionally suspended from all international athletics competitions by the IAAF.

– Russia: Scandal exposes security agency’s links to sport
– #360view: IAAF incompetence stinks
– Russia: Kremlin spokesperson calls for proof

The move, which comes after last week’s revelations by the World Anti-Doping Agency, was passed almost unanimously in a vote of IAAF Council members on Friday night.

Of 23 eligible council members, 22 voted in favour of the sanction with one voting against. The member for Russia was ineligible to vote.

There was no guarantee that Russia will be reinstated before next year’s Olympics with a wide range of criteria set out for them to meet before being allowed to return.

“Today we have been dealing with the failure of ARAF (All-Russia Athletic Federation) and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can  apply at this time,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said.

“But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world. This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated.”

The ban means athletes from Russia may not enter international competitions, including the World Athletic Series and Rio Olympics, which begin on 5 August next year.

Russia will also not be entitled to host the 2016 World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary and the 2016 World Juniors in Kazan.

Prior to the news of the IAAF provisionally suspended Russia’s Athletics federation, pole vault world record holder, and one of Russia’s most decorated athletes, Yelena Isinbayeva, wrote an open letter.

“Throughout my sports career, I honestly worked, trained, won world championships and the Olympic Games, broke world records,” said the 33-year-old, who won bronze at London 2012.

“All my victories are honest, clean and well-deserved. I urge you not to align all athletes with the same brush.” 

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Nike’s We Run DXB brings thousands on to the Downtown Dubai streets

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Future is orange: The runners line up for the start of the popular We Run DXB.

Downtown Dubai was flooded with more than 13,000 runners on Friday to kick off Nike’s We Run DXB, hailed as the fastest 10k race of the season.

The record number of participants more than doubled the total of last December’s edition which saw over 6,000 runners come out.

After conquering the 10k route, the crowd gathered for the Nikehosted post-race celebrations in Burj Park, where athletes received recovery treatments, sports massages and stretching sessions, along with enjoyable dance routines.

We Run DXB 2015 is part of the global Nike We Run Series hosted by 18 cities across Europe, Latin America and Asia and ranging in distances from 5K to a full marathon.

This year, We Run races will reach more than 140,000 runners worldwide.

For more information, check out Nike Running Middle East’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Martyn Rooney says Coe's doping report response 'naive'

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Inexperienced: Sebastian Coe.

Sebastian Coe has been accused of making “naive” comments about doping in athletics that raise questions over whether he is the right person to lead a clean up of the sport, according to British World Championships captain Martyn Rooney.

British middle-distance great Coe, the recently elected president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), will chair a conference call meeting of the global governing body’s council on Friday which could see Russia suspended from track and field competition and ultimately the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Russia finds itself facing athletics exile after a damning report released this week by an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused the country of systematic “state-sponsored” doping.

– Russia: Scandal exposes security agency’s links to sport
– #360view: IAAF incompetence stinks

– Russia: Kremlin spokesperson calls for proof

Coe described Lamine Diack, his predecessor as IAAF president, as his “spiritual leader”, only for the 82-year-old Senegalese to be arrested by French police over claims he took 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in bribes to cover up positive drug tests.

Earlier this week, Coe, a 1500 metres gold medallist for Britain at both the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games, said he was “completely shocked” by the WADA allegations against the Russian Athletics Federation and added that “rogue elements” may have infiltrated the IAAF.

But Rooney, who helped Great Britain’s men win a bronze medal in the 4×400 metres relay in Beijing in August, questioned how Coe, Diack’s vice-president for eight years, could claim ignorance of the workings of the IAAF.

“It is pretty disrespectful to believe the vice-president did not know what was going on within IAAF,” Rooney told the BBC.

“That is his job and if he believes he did not know what was going on he has not been doing his job properly.

“Lord Coe is an icon for British athletes and has inspired generations but I felt he was a bit naive with his comments post the report.

“I want to believe he is the right person for the job…It is just whether it is the best thing for athletics to have someone who was involved in the IAAF at that period still involved at the turnaround.”

Meanwhile a committee of British lawmakers confirmed it would hear evidence from Coe on December 2 to answer questions on how athletics was handling this latest doping scandal.

Jesse Norman, chairman of the House of Commons’ culture, media and sport select committee, said in a statement: “I am delighted that we have been able to arrange a date for Lord Coe to appear before the committee.

“Recent events have further underlined the seriousness of the issues raised by blood-doping in sports, and the depth of public concern about them.”

Committee member Damian Collins, a campaigner against corruption in sporting bodies, has previously said he will ask Coe about his Nike ambassadorship, amid suggestions he should cut his ties with the US-based sportswear company because of possible conflicts of interest.

Nike sponsors the Oregon Project, an athletics training group whose coach, Alberto Salazar, has been accused of violating doping rules.

The group’s athletes include British distance star Mo Farah, the reigning Olympic and world champion at both 5,000 and 10,000m.

There is no suggestion that Farah, who also won double gold at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, has violated anti-doping rules, although he came under pressure after it emerged he missed two drug tests in the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympics.

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