Russia to lose Olympic and World Championship gold medals
Rob Heffernan a beneficiary of CAS upholding IAAF appeal over doping punishments
Sergey Kirdyapkin has been stripped of his 2012 London Olympics 50km walk gold medal. Australia’s Jared Tallent now has gold, China’s Si Tianfeng silver and Ireland’s Rob Heffernan bronze. Photograph: Getty
Russia will lose two World Championship gold medals and an Olympic gold after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an appeal by the IAAF over selective doping punishments imposed by the country’s anti-doping agency.
Athletics’ world governing body went to CAS with its concerns that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) had failed to correctly apply World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules when disqualifying results of six Russian athletes who failed drugs tests.
Sergey Kirdyapkin was originally allowed to keep his London 2012 Olympic gold medal in the 50-kilometre walk, Sergey Bakulin kept his 2011 World Championships gold in the same event, and Yuliya Zaripova was not stripped of her 2011 World Championship steeplechase gold.
Olga Kaniskina had also been able to keep her 2012 Olympics silver medal in the 20km walk.
The medals will now be taken away from the Russian athletes and are likely to be redistributed by the IAAF and, for the Olympic medals, the International Olympic Committee.
The IAAF questioned the “selective” disqualification of results and saw CAS support its case.
Each athlete had seen their anti-doping case come to light due to irregularities in their biological passports.
CAS announced in a statement: “The IAAF challenged what it felt was a ‘selective’ disqualification of results, submitting that all results achieved by the athletes from the date of their first abnormal sample to the date they accepted a provisional suspension should be disqualified.
“In each case, the appeal filed by the IAAF has been upheld and the decision issued by the disciplinary anti-doping committee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for each athlete has been modified.”
Kirdyapkin sees his competitive results from August 20th 2009 to October 15th 2012 wiped from the record books, with Bakulin losing his results from February 25th 2011 to December 24th 2012, Kaniskina from August 15th 2009 to October 15th 2012, Valeriy Borchin from August 14th to October 15th 2012, Vladimir Kanaikin from February 25th 2011 to December 17th 2012, and Zaripova from July 20th 2011 to July 25th 2013.
Kanaikin had been handed a life ban by RUSADA but CAS replaced that with an eight-year suspension, it announced in a statement.
Australian Jared Tallent can expect to be named as the men’s 50km Olympic champion from 2012, having taken silver in London.
He wrote on Twitter: “History has been rewritten.... I am Olympic champion!”
China’s Si Tianfeng stands to be upgraded from bronze to silver, with bronze going to fourth-placed finisher Rob Heffernan of Ireland.
Heffernan told Irish radio station Today FM: “I’m buzzing. I got a generic email off the Court of Arbitration for Sport (containing the judgment).
“I had to read it a few times just in case I made a mistake.
“That makes me an Olympic bronze medallist and it’s unreal.”
The 38-year-old knew he could be nudged up to third place as the investigation into Kirdyapkin progressed.
He added: “It’s been dragging on and people in Cork have been coming up and congratulating me on being a new Olympic medallist. A lot of people were congratulating me on the gold and I never bothered correcting them.
“I was half living the lie. I was trying to believe it myself. Now that it’s made official, I didn’t know how I’d feel about it. I’m delighted, I’m over the moon, it’s unreal.
“It’s something that as long as I’ve been doing sport and as a kid I’ve been dreaming of, winning an Olympic medal, and now to have one it’s hard to take in.”
Russia could be banned from athletics at the Rio Olympics over the doping scandal and state-sponsored corruption that has engulfed the sport in the country.