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  • Russia Optimistic for IPC Reinstatement


    (ATR) The week has opened with a Russian offensive of appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on doping suspensions.

    Alexander Zubkov at Sochi 2014 (ATR)
    It will end with a decision by the International Paralympic Committee on the possible reinstatement of Russia to that organization.

    Four Russian bobsledders have filed appeals with CAS against their two year suspensions imposed last month by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), TASS said.

    Alexander Kasyanov, Ilvir Khuzin and Alexei Pushkarev, were slapped with suspensions until 2020 for violating anti-doping rules during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Alexander Zubkov, who at age 39 won two gold medals in Sochi and had since retired, was suspended from all sports-related activities until 2020 on the same grounds. Zubkov was stripped of his Sochi medals by the IOC in 2017.

    The decision of the IBSF meant that Zubkov was ineligible to serve as the president of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation until his suspension term expired on December 18, 2020. On January 22 Zubkov announced that he was resigning from his post. Yelena Anikina, a member of the RBF Presidium, was appointed the acting president of the national bobsleigh federation until new elections are held on March 20.

    Meanwhile the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) has received 188 applications from national athletes requesting neutral status, of which 172 have been already sent to the IAAF, RusAF spokeswoman Natalia Yukhareva told TASS.

    The IAAF Doping Review Board approved on December 18 an updated version of the Guidance Note for Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) status applications and sent the document to the RusAF. According to the document, "Athletes who were granted ANA status in 2018 are able to re-apply for eligibility in 2019 by completing a simplified application form." The RusAF started accepting neutral status applications from national track and field athletes on December 19 and announced on January 21 that IAAF already granted permissions to 42 Russian athletes.

    But what is most interesting is the upcoming announcement about the possible re-entry of the Russian paralympic movement to the International Paralympic Committee, to which the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) has shown optimism.

    "Our opinion will be said on February 8," an IPC representative told Around the Rings, preferring not to refer to Russian optimism.

    IPC will hold a press conference in Bonn, Germany, on Friday “to update on the progress of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) in meeting the reinstatement criteria required to have its membership suspension lifted”.

    Representing the IPC will be President Andrew Parsons and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Craig Spence.

    "It is difficult to predict what to expect from the upcoming session," RPC First Vice President Pavel Rozhkov told journalists. "We are optimistic as we have implemented all required criteria."

    The IPC suspended Russia in August 2016 (ATR)
    The RPC was suspended in August 2016 due to its inability to fulfill its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code.

    In December 2016. the IPC published its reinstatement criteria, a series of 70 measures which the RPC must meet to have its membership suspension lifted.

    At the IPC Governing Board meeting in September 2018, the IPC Taskforce who monitor the RPC’s progress in meeting the reinstatement criteria, highlighted three criteria that still had to be met. These were: completion of all budget-related aspects of the reinstatement criteria; the full reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the acknowledgment and acceptance of the McLaren Report.

    The Russian Biathlon Union is also hopeful for its reincorporation to the International Biathlon Union (IBU).

    During the IBU Executive Board meeting in Vienna this week, the Chair of the Independent IBU Anti-Doping Working Group made a presentation and gave an update of the 13 cases at the Anti-Doping Hearing Panel.

    “The Chair expressed his satisfaction about WADA’s retrieval of the LIMS data from the Moscow Laboratory and stated his hope that the data will be received quickly by the IBU once the authentication process has been completed,” IBU said in a statement.

    The RBU Working Group also provided an update, confirming that the RBU have accepted the IBU’s criteria for reinstatement and that fruitful dialogue between both sides will continue.

    The next meeting of the IBU/RBU Working Group is scheduled for the end of February in Moscow.

    Written by Miguel Hernandez. For general comments or questions, click here.
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