A new doping scandal involving Russian athletes has erupted after the IAAF confirmed it is investigating allegations race walker Elena Lashmanova, who won gold at the London Olympics, took part in a race in December despite being subject to a two-year doping ban.
The IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, has confirmed it is looking into the claims, and alleged attempts to cover up her participation. The IAAF is already involved in a major investigation into allegations from German broadcaster ARD that doping and cover-ups are rife in Russian athletics.
Lashmanova, 22, who in 2012 became the youngest winner of the women’s Olympic 20-kilometre walk, is banned until February 2016 after testing positive for banned hormones and modulators of metabolism. Claims surfaced in Italian race walking periodical Marcia dal Mondo that she competed in the indoor regional championships of her home region of Mordovia in Russia last month, and photographs were published of her participating.
The event organiser has claimed the photographs were wrongly used and were from a 2012 event. Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee has posted a blog about the claims however, saying the footwear being worn by the walkers in the pictures where Lashmanova is photographed were not available until 2014.
If the claims are proven, Lashmanova faces being banned for an extra two years until February 2018. An IAAF spokesman said: “The IAAF has been informed of this and our anti-doping department is investigating.”
Last month, the son of IAAF president Lamine Diack stepped down from his activities with the governing body pending the investigation into the allegations from German television.
Papa Massata Diack, who works for the IAAF as a marketing consultant, joined Valentin Balakhnichev, the president of the Russian athletics federation and the IAAF’s treasurer, in agreeing to step down.
Balakhnichev continues in his role with the Russian federation and said the allegations about Lashmanova were being looked into. He told R-Sport agency: “We’ve started an investigation into the case. Its results will be announced shortly.”
The IAAF investigation also covers a list of 150 athletes obtained by ARD named as having suspicious blood results between 2006-2008. It included three Britons, one with a high profile.
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