MOSCOW: Russian race walker Anisya Kirdyapkina, a two-time world championship medalist, has been banned for using performance-enhancing drugs, further dismantling one of the most successful doping programs in history.
Kirdyapkina was the only athlete from Russia’s nine-person Olympic walk team in 2012 never to have served a ban despite multiple investigations into organised doping involving her coach, her teammates and her gold medal-winning husband, Sergei.
The Russian track federation said Thursday that Kirdyapkina was banned for three years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after her blood data showed signs of doping. She will have to cease her coaching career and is disqualified from second-place finishes from the 2011 and 2013 world championships.
Kirdyapkina originally took the bronze in 2011 but was elevated to second when the winner, Russian team-mate Olga Kaniskina, was banned for doping. Kirdyapkina’s 2011 silver is set to pass to Elisa Rigaudo of Italy, the original fourth-place finisher, while Liu Hong of China is in line to inherit the 2013 medal.
Kirdyapkina has also been disqualified from her fifth-place finish at the 2012 Olympics. Russian team-mate Elena Lashmanova is still officially considered the winner of that race, though she was banned in 2014 in another doping case.
Athletes from the Russian walk team’s Saransk training center won nine Olympic and 18 world championship medals from 2004-16, but head coach Viktor Chegin has since been banned for life.
In all, more than 30 athletes associated with the team and the Saransk training centre have served bans. The Russian anti-doping agency said last year it had found current national team walkers traveling to a remote part of Kyrgyzstan to train under Chegin even though they were forbidden to work with him.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019