Athletics: Russian high jumper accuses officials of doping suspension, Sport News & Top Stories


MOSCOW (REUTERS) – High jumper Danil Lysenko, suspended for anti-doping rule violations in a case that rocked Russian sport, admitted guilt for his infractions but said he blamed the athletics federation for a draft falsifying documents in an attempt to evade punishment.

Lysenko, a silver medalist at the 2017 World Athletics Championships, was provisionally suspended in 2018 after registering three locate failures in a 12-month period, once failing a doping test and twice failing to provide his whereabouts to the anti-doping authorities.

The aftermath plunged the Russian athletics federation, suspended since 2015 for mass doping in sport, into further unrest after senior federation officials became embroiled in a scheme to falsify medical documents and provide false explanations to justify Lysenko’s violations.

“Of course I could have said no, but I didn’t,” Lysenko, whose suspension ends in August next year, told Reuters.

“I listened to the bosses and decided to do as they said.”

The 24-year-old said he was negligent in reporting his whereabouts and made no attempt to cover up the use of banned substances. He also said he regretted accepting what he called the federation’s plan to “help him”.

When asked to comment on Lysenko’s claim, it was the federation’s idea of ​​forging documents, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the federation’s president at the time, told Reuters: “Let this remain on his conscience for the rest of his life. Until the grave! ” He made other comments.

Shlyakhtin received a four-year suspension for the case.

The plot fell apart when the Monaco-based Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees integrity issues in the sport, questioned information provided by Lysenko.

The Moscow clinic that allegedly treated Lysenko for suspected appendicitis – the initial reason given for not entering his whereabouts into an online system for doping control officers to locate athletes – did not exist. The timeline of one car crash to justify another violation has not stood up to scrutiny.

Lysenko initially did not tell investigators the truth because he feared for his safety if he involved senior officials of the federation. He then helped investigators lay charges against some officials, which led to his suspension being shortened to two years.

Five federation officials, including Shlyakhtin, have been suspended for the affair.

Lysenko coach Evgeny Zagorulko has also been provisionally suspended. His lawyers filed with the Lausanne Court of Arbitration for Sport a request for a review of his suspension in the light of his assistance to investigators. Zagurolko died in April, before the court could rule.

In November 2019, the case prompted World Athletics, the international sports governing body, to stop allowing Russians to compete internationally as neutral athletes.

He then restarted this process, but fined the federation US $ 10 million (S $ 13.5 million) and limited the number of Russians eligible to compete in athletics at the Tokyo Olympics to 10.

“I am certainly aware that innocent athletes have suffered as a result of this situation,” said Lysenko, the 2018 world indoor champion.

“I am really sorry.”

At an athletics center in Moscow last month, Lysenko effortlessly climbed 2.15 meters – an impressive jump for someone who drives a truck for a living.

The athlete who climbed 2.32m to win silver at the 2017 championships sits in traffic all day, shopping for a construction company in the Moscow region. Earlier in the pandemic, he worked as a food delivery courier.

Even though he hasn’t trained for months, Lysenko still aims to compete in the Olympics and break the 2.45m world record.

“I understand that there is a lot of work to be done on my technique,” ​​said Lysenko.

“I’m not in the shape I was anymore.”

Lysenko considered quitting his job to train full-time in the last year of his suspension, but his financial situation did not allow it.

“I need to find the money to live, to buy food,” he said.

To compete internationally after his suspension, Lysenko would still have to be cleared by World Athletics.

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