State TV says 14 Russians on list for 2008 Olympics doping

2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova is among the athletes who tested positive in the reanalysis of their samples, say media reports

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 May, 2016, 12:50am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 May, 2016, 12:50am

Ten medallists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including 2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova, were among 14 Russians that tested positive in the reanalysis of their doping samples, state television reported on Tuesday.

Match TV said 11 of the 14 athletes were from track and field, including 4x100 metre relay gold medalist Yulia Chermoshanskaya. The others are two weightlifters and a rower.

If Chermoshanskaya is disqualified, the relay gold medal would pass to Belgium, with silver for Nigeria and bronze for Brazil.

The list also includes Chicherova, who won the high jump bronze in Beijing before winning gold at the 2012 London Games.

Perhaps it’s just a mistake. I can’t explain how my doping test gave a positive result
Anna Chicherova

Silver medal winners whose doping retests reportedly came back positive are javelin thrower Maria Abakumova, 4x400 relay runners Anastasia Kapachinskaya and Tatiana Firova, and weightlifter Maria Shainova, the report said.

Bronze medallists included Ekaterina Volkova in the 3,000 steeplechase, men’s 4x400 relay team member Denis Alexeyev, race walker Denis Nizhegorodov and weightlifter Nadezhda Yevstukhina.

Match TV, a Russian state sports channel founded last year, did not say how it obtained the 14 names. Both the IOC and track and field’s world governing body have declined to comment on leaked names until formal charges are made.

In a statement, the Russian Olympic Committee confirmed it had received a list of 14 athletes who showed positive results, but said it would not release the names until the B samples were tested. The committee said it would send its officials to observe the B sample testing.

The Russian athletics federation said in a statement on Tuesday that any athlete found to have used performance enhancing drugs in previous years would be barred from competing at the Rio Olympics.

Any potential participant in the Olympic Games caught using doping in previous years cannot be a member of Russia’s national team at Rio,” the federation said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Chicherova’s coach, Yevgeny Zagorulko, told Russian state news agency Tass that she had been notified of the positive sample following the retests by the International Olympic Committee.

“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympics tested positive after a recheck and she called me,” Zagorulko said.

“So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”

Chicherova was quoted by Match TV as saying she was “in the same shock as everyone else” when she received official notification of her positive test.

“Perhaps it’s just a mistake,” she said. “I can’t explain how my doping test gave a positive result. I’ve competed a lot since then and given hundreds of samples.”

The IOC said last week that 31 athletes could be barred from this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after being caught in the reanalysis of Beijing samples. It said the athletes came from six sports and 12 countries, but declined to give names, citing legal reasons.

The IOC and track and field’s governing body said they could not comment because the investigation was ongoing.

The IOC has said athletes’ B samples would be retested in early June. A formal positive case is not declared until the B sample confirms the original finding.

The IOC said that, before reallocating any medals, it would retest samples of any athletes who stand to move up in the medals.

Chicherova won the high jump bronze medal in Beijing, clearing a personal best 2.03m to finish behind winner Tia Hellebaut of Belgium and Blanka Vlasic of Croatia. Another Russian, Yelena Slesarenko, finished fourth.

Chicherova won the gold in London, clearing 2.05m. She was also world champion in 2011.

The IOC also retested 250 samples from the London Olympics and is still awaiting those results. The retests targeted athletes who competed in Beijing or London and were hoping to participate in Rio in August.

The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years to reanalyse them when newer methods become available.