Russia’s athletics federation announces suspensions handed to five athletes for doping offences

Marathon runner Maria Konovalova is among five athletes to have received doping suspensions, the Russian athletics federation announced on Thursday (November 5).

Konovalova, who placed second in the 2010 Chicago Marathon and third in the 2013 event, has been banned for two years from October 27, 2015 to October 26, 2017, following irregularities in her biological passport. She will also have her results from August 14, 2009, annulled.

The 41-year-old had run a world W40 record-breaking time of 2:22:27 when finishing second at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in March, that time having been a PB for the then 40-year-old.

Also among the five athletes handed suspensions is thrower Maria Bespalova, who placed 11th in the hammer final at the London 2012 Olympics. Bespalova has been banned for four years until October 25, 2019.

Four-year suspensions were also handed to runners Yaroslav Kholopov and Vlas Bredikhin, while a six-month ban was announced for race walker Yevgeny Nushtayev.

News of the five suspensions comes the day after reports that former IAAF president Lamine Diack had been ‘charged with corruption’ relating to the IAAF’s anti-doping campaign.

According to the BBC, Diack is accused of receiving money in return for deferring sanctions against Russian athletes who had failed doping tests in 2011.

An independent commission, chaired by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s founding president Dick Pound, was formed after the broadcast of an ARD documentary – ‘Top-secret doping: How Russia makes its winners’ – which was aired in December 2014.

On Thursday, WADA confirmed that investigation findings will be delivered at a press conference in Geneva on November 9.