Russian Race Walking Coach Banned For Life

The Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) has banned race walking coach Viktor Chegin for life for his involvement in doping.


RUSADA disclosed that Chegin was found guilty of two charges related to providing assistance to help athletes dope, after an investigation that lasted more than 18 months. The Russian anti-doping agency said its investigation included interviews with athletes and staff members at the centre of Chegin as well as blood data analysis from athletes. RUSADA said it was able to prove the involvement of Viktor Chegin in a scheme of using banned substances and methods at the center.

The coach turned race walkers of Russia into a world-beating team, including medals at the last three Olympics. Viktor Chegin was rewarded with near-complete control of a state-funded training center that was named in his honor. His success was however undermined in the last few years by more than 30 doping cases and failed tests by Russian walkers, and a big majority of them were linked to his centre. The list of these names included several Olympic and world champions who had been coached by Chegin personally.

In the past, eminent race walkers from many countries had accused the race walking coach of being the ringleader in a doping program at the center in the central Russian city of Saransk. The athletes even organized a "Ban Chegin" social media campaign.

A World Anti-Doping Agency commission recommended lifetime ban on Chegin. The commission said there was an institutionalized and systematic approach to doping among Russian race walkers that shows no sign of stopping.

Chegin has now been banned from any role in sport, whether as an official, agent, or coach. The Russian track and field federation disclosed that it and the Russian Olympic Committee had approved the ban.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday retroactively disqualified five of the walkers of Chegin from events including the Olympics and world championships that mean Russia stands to lose two Olympic medals. In a statement, CAS said the Russian anti-doping agency had wrongly imposed bans in such a way that results of the six athletes were not annulled and allowed them to keep major titles. In its defense, RUSADA had claimed suspensions imposed by it applied only to times when the blood values of athletes were extreme but the world governing body of athletics appealed by saying the timing of the bans was “selective”.

The CAS verdict means that Russian race walker Sergey Kirdyapkin will lose his Olympic gold medal in the 50km walk and the medal will now be received by Australia’s Jared Tallent, subject to ratification by track and field’s governing body and the International Olympic Committee. It was ruled by the CAS that all of Kirdkyapkin’s results from 20 August 2009 to 15 October 2012 were now disqualified. China’s Si Tianfeng would move up to silver, with bronze for Ireland’s Rob Heffernan. The Court of Arbitration for Sport also imposed disqualification on walkers Valery Borchin and Vladimir Kanaikin. Olga Kaniskina would stand to lose her silver medal in the 20km walk from the London Olympics.


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