Rob Heffernan could be awarded London 2012 Olympic bronze

IAAF have confirmed the suspension of three Russian Olympic champion race-walkers

Race-walker Rob Heffernan came fourth in the 50km race at the 2012 Olympics but could be awarded a bronze medal after the IAAF confirmed three Russian athletes have received provisional suspensions. (Photograph: Inpho/ Morgan Treacy)

Race-walker Rob Heffernan came fourth in the 50km race at the 2012 Olympics but could be awarded a bronze medal after the IAAF confirmed three Russian athletes have received provisional suspensions. (Photograph: Inpho/ Morgan Treacy)

 

Fresh allegations of doping offences involving Russian athletes could now result in an Olympic bronze medal for Irish race walker Rob Heffernan. There could also be a retrospective World championship gold medal for fellow walker Olive Loughnane.

The IAAF have confirmed the provisional suspensions of three Russian Olympic champion race-walkers as part of their continuing investigation into doping in Russian athletics.

Among them are Sergei Kirdyapkin, who won gold in the men’s 50km race at the 2012 London Olympics, where Heffernan finished fourth: should Kirdyapkin’s ban be upheld there may well be a retrospective banning, which would automatically see Heffernan upgraded to the bronze medal position.

Also provisionally banned is Olga Kaniskina, who won the women’s 20km gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and also the World Championships in Berlin in 2009: Loughnane won silver in that race, and again Kaniskina may well be stripped of those titles as a result of any long term ban, with Loughnane being upgraded to World Champion.

Last month Heffernan was upgraded to bronze from the 20km walk the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona, after the Russian gold medal winner there was banned retrospectively.

Two other Russian walkers, Sergei Bakulin and Vladimir Kanaykin, who won gold and silver medals at the 2011 world championship, have also been provisionally suspended.

All five cases relate to irregularities in the athletes’ biological passports, which monitor blood values over time to look for evidence of doping. According to Chris Turner of the IAAF, the association “only publishes the names of those athletes whose cases have been concluded,” but the organization did confirm that certain athletes were suspended.

Should be bans be upheld, it also means that 17 gold medals won by Russian walkers at the Olympics and world championships in the last decade, 16 were won by athletes who have been banned for doping at some stage of their careers or who are currently under investigation.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.