Russia will be barred from competing as a nation at the Olympic Games, Winter Olympics and football World Cup over the next two years after the Court of Arbitration for Sport partly upheld a suspension imposed for breaching anti-doping rules.

In 2019, Russia was handed a four-year ban from major international sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

WADA declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

At the time, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reiterated its support for Russia's ban, which meant athletes would be unable to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games.

In a landmark move on Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed Russia would be banned, albeit with the time frame cut from four years to two.

That will still discount Russia from participating in the Tokyo Olympics – pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic – plus the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022, and the next World Cup.

Russia will, however, be able to compete at the Euro 2020 football finals, which is also scheduled to take place next year, having been another event impacted by COVID-19.

This is because WADA's international standard for code compliance by signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation".

Russian athletes wishing to compete at the Tokyo and Beijing Games will be able to do so, but only under a neutral banner.

CAS stated in its announcement: "This panel has imposed consequences to reflect the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance [to the WADC] and to ensure that the integrity of sport against the scourge of doping is maintained.

"The consequences which the panel has decided to impose are not as extensive as those sought by WADA. This should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of RUSADA or the Russian authorities."

CAS also said that its ruling aims to "effect cultural change and encourage the next generation of Russian athletes to participate in clean international sport".

In order to be reinstated at the end of the two-year ban, it was also ruled that RUSADA must pay a contribution of $1.27million to WADA, in respect of the costs incurred in investigating the authenticity of the data retrieved from the Moscow laboratory in January 2019.

RUSADA, under supervision from WADA or the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), was told it must conduct investigations into any cases impacted by the deletions or alterations of the Moscow laboratory data.

The Russian organisation must also provide any other support requested by WADA to assist in determining whether athletes whose samples are listed in the Moscow laboratory database have a case to answer.

Jamaica sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah has been included in a shortlist of five athletes in contention for the World Athletics 2020 Female Athlete of the Year.

Despite the pandemic wreaking havoc upon the international track and field calendar, the Jamaican managed to put together a series of strong performances.  Thompson-Herah ran unbeaten over seven races in which she also set a world-leading 10.85 over the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Rome. She also closed the season with a strong 10.87s in Doha.

Making the final five with Thompson-Herah are Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia) Sifan Hassan, Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir, and Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela).  Gidey set a world record of 14:06.62 over 5000m and was second in the 5000m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco. Hassan also set a world record in the one hour run as well as a European record of 29:36.67 over 10,000m, the fourth-fastest performance in history.  Jepchirchir won the world half marathon title and twice broke the world half-marathon record, while Rojas was undefeated in four triple jump competitions indoors and outdoors and broke the world indoor triple jump record with 15.43m.

The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live at the World Athletics Awards 2020 to be staged as a virtual event on Saturday 5 December and streamed live on the World Athletics YouTube channel, its Facebook page, and via Twitter.

 

 

 

 In general, the idea of what a woman should look has become a problematic issue, increasingly within our current societal framework.  In athletics, it seems to be no different.

Women’s tennis legend Serena Williams once said: “I think of all the girls who could become top athletes but quit sports because they’re afraid of having too many defined muscles, being made fun of, or called unattractive.”

While not implicitly stated, appearances are also judged and discriminated against in athletics.  Women with conditions like hyperandrogenism tend to have bigger muscles due to high natural levels of testosterone and are as such, in my opinion, singled out for discrimination by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules.  Despite the fact that it is how they were born.

  In fact, women who compete with such conditions can be subject to gender verification testing should ‘suspicions’ arise. Hyperandrogenism or androgen excess is a medical condition characterized by excessive levels of testosterone in the body and the condition affects approximately 1% of elite female athletes.  Such embarrassing stipulations not only serve as a barrier to some women competing but also as a deterrent to getting involved in the first place.

In a recent chat with the Olympic Channel, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah credited fellow athlete Dutee Chand for helping put India on the global athletics stage.

Thompson-Herah gushed over the idea of athletes from other countries vying to claim a space on the global athletics map, in hopes of proudly representing themselves and their country.

“As an athlete, I think that is really exciting and great to see them coming in to deliver and perform well,” said the Olympic champion.

Having come from an impoverished community to become one of the world’s best, Thompson-Herah knows all about challenges.  Even now she battles with a nagging Achilles injury that has affected her for a good portion of her career.

For athletes like Chand, the list of obstacles can be even longer.  Thompson-Herah pointed to the athlete’s first language as another likely barrier to perhaps sharing nuggets of wisdom.

“English is not the native language for her,” Thompson-Herah explained.

“It is kind of hard to translate everything to another person who doesn't speak English, but Dutee is getting to know more and getting better each time.”

But in her short time competing as an athlete she has overcome an even bigger one.  One that were it not for her grit and determination, could have meant the end of her competing.

In June 2014, after she won two gold medals at the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in the 200 metres and 4 × 400 m relays, Chand was dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games contingent at the last minute after the Athletic Federation of India revealed that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete.  Chand challenged the gender testing policies and on July 26, 2015, the court ruled in favour.  The IAAF, as a result, temporarily suspended the hyperandrogenism regulations.

Consequently, she qualified for the 2016 Olympic games without having to alter her natural hormone levels.

The issue was, however, far from concluded. After further analysis in April 2018, the IAAF announced new eligibility regulations for female runners setting an upper testosterone limit, which applied to the 400m, 800m, and 1500m events.  Chand was left unaffected by the revised regulations and has her eyes set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  The rule amendment did, however, impact another woman, South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya. 

The three-time World Championship gold medallist and two times Olympic champion could no longer compete in her preferred 800m event after the new IAAF "differences of sex development" rules that required athletes with specific disorders of sex development, testosterone levels of 5 nmol/L and above, and certain androgen sensitivity, take medication to lower their testosterone levels.  Semenya, like Chand, contested the decision but lost the case at both the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and appeal at the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.  She has considered switching to the 200m event.

September is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) awareness month.  PCOS is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age and is one of the conditions that can affect these elite athletes.  When women have PCOS, they may have excess male hormone (androgen) levels.

Sports governing bodies should accept the fact that some women naturally produce higher levels of testosterone and those who do should be allowed to compete. When will women just be allowed to be women?

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

Noah Lyles thought he had shattered the 200 metres world record on Thursday, but the American's joy was short-lived as it transpired he had not run the full distance. 

Lyles, running on his own in Florida as part of the Inspiration Games event, crossed the line in a rapid 18.90 seconds. 

It appeared the record of 19.19s Usain Bolt set at the 2009 World Championships had gone, but BBC commentator Steve Cram was among those to question the time. 

"That cannot be right," said Cram. "Even he has got his hands in the air wondering what is going on." 

It was then revealed that world champion Lyles had run 15m less than his opponents competing at other tracks, as he had started in the wrong lane. 

The 22-year-old subsequently missed out on a $10,000 winner's cheque, with Christophe Lemaitre taking victory in a time of 20.65 at Letzigrund. 

Lyles tweeted: "You can’t be playing with my emotions like this.... got me in the wrong lane smh [shaking my head]." 

The 2020 European Athletics Championships in Paris have been cancelled but there is set to be track and field action in Oslo at an 'Impossible Games' Diamond League event in June.

European Athletics announced on Thursday that the Championships will not take place at the Charlety Stadium from August 25-30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Paris 2020 Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Federation Francaise d'Athletisme (FFA) made the decision to call the event off at an extraordinary LOC Executive Committee meeting.

European Athletics interim president Dobromir Karamarinov said: "We had hoped in these troubled times to offer European athletes a major event to aim for at the end of this summer.

"Unfortunately, today we were informed by the LOC and French athletics federation that, after discussions with the relevant French national and local public health and safety authorities, they were no longer able to proceed with delivering the championships this August and were forced to cancel the event.

"Whilst we regret announcing the cancellation of our European Athletics Championships, it is worth reiterating that in these unprecedented times the health and safety of all athletics' stakeholders including athletes, fans, officials, partners and everyone connected with the sport is paramount. We will always do what is best for the members of our athletics family and the wider public."

A further two Diamond League meetings scheduled to take place in June were postponed earlier in the day but plans for an exhibition event in Oslo on June 11 were revealed.

There is due to be a world record attempt from world 400 metres hurdles champion Karsten Warholm on home soil and a pole vault battle between world record holder Mondo Duplantis and Renaud Lavillenie.

The hour-long event, which will be shown live by Norway's public broadcaster NRK, will ensure a full observation of the country's coronavirus regulations and social distancing rules.

Organisers stressed that a full programme is yet to be confirmed and is subject to change.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says track and field must not be afraid to "think bigger" after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed the Tokyo Olympics – which had been due to start in July – has been postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing crisis.

World Athletics has welcomed the decision, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having initially been reluctant to postpone the showpiece event.

It appears inevitable the World Athletics Championship, due to be held in Oregon in August 2021, will be nudged back a year to 2022 as a result.

Though disappointed at the 2020 schedule being hugely affected, Coe suggested there is now an opportunity to reinvigorate athletics.

"When we get through this, and we will, we will be braver and more innovative," Coe wrote in an open letter on Friday.

"We will be more collaborative and resilient. We will be stronger and more tolerant. We will be more global, not less.

"In sport we have a unique opportunity not to tiptoe around things and tweak at the edges. We have the chance to think bigger, to rip up the blueprints and banish the 'that's the way we've always done it' mentality."

Coe added: "The situation the world finds itself in today is a huge wake-up call for all of us – as human beings, as businesses and as sport. We should capitalise on this and work out new ways of delivering events, create and plan new events that embrace the many as well as the few.

"We can use this time to innovate and extend our sport across the year. Rather than just focusing on one-day meetings and one-day road races at one end of the spectrum and 10-day extravaganzas at the other end, we should look at weekend festivals of running, jumping and throwing that take advantage of the southern and northern hemisphere seasons.

"We should work with governments to re-establish sport in schools, rebuild club structures, incentivise people to exercise and get fit. This should and could be the new normal. We don't have to do things the same way.

"The priority for all of us right now is to contain the pandemic, stay healthy and stay home. But where we can continue to drive our sport forward, we must."

Coe also revealed his organisation will do all it can to ensure the outdoor season of one-day meetings goes ahead as soon as it is safe, with Diamond League events having been postponed until at least June.

Russia faces the threat of total expulsion from international athletics if charges relating to an anti-doping case are upheld against senior federation figures.

That was the stark warning issued on Wednesday by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which urged World Athletics to get tough if RusAF officials linked to the Danil Lysenko saga are shown to have been involved in anti-doping rule violations.

High-jumper Lysenko, a silver medallist at the 2017 World Championships, was competing as a neutral athlete following the suspension of RusAF when, in June 2018, he was notified of a third 'whereabouts' failure and served with a provisional suspension.

The AIU investigated the explanations provided by Lysenko, concluding the explanations were false and supported by forged documents, leading to charges against RusAF figures including president Dmitry Shlyakhtin and executive director Alexander Parkin, plus the athlete and his coach Evgeniy Zagorulko.

In all, seven individuals were charged, and RusAF was given until December 12 to respond, with that deadline later extended.

However, the AIU delivered a scathing verdict on RusAF's reaction to the charges on Wednesday, accusing it of trying to deflect blame and failing to demonstrate any accountability.

The AIU said in a statement: "The AIU board finds it regrettable that, in the face of clear and compelling evidence, RusAF has chosen not to admit to the acts and omissions of the employees, directors and representatives of RusAF for which it is liable under the anti-doping rules.

"In the AIU board's view, a responsible member federation in the circumstances would have admitted the charges and shown contrition for its conduct, but RusAF has chosen to do neither.

"Instead, RusAF has gone to great lengths to deny any involvement in the matter, blame others and attack the process. This approach is deeply concerning for the AIU board as it seems to indicate that the current leadership of the federation is merely a continuation of the former."

Russia's situation could result in none of its track and field athletes being allowed to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where they are already unable to enter under the country's flag.

Until charges in the Lysenko case are resolved, the AIU recommended suspending the practice of allowing Russians who meet certain criteria to compete as neutral competitors.

Pointing to RusAF's "total lack of contrition for its conduct" and "the fact that the previous sanctions of World Athletics have apparently failed to deter RusAF from reoffending", the AIU said the World Athletics Council should "consider recommending to the World Athletics Congress that RusAF be expelled from membership".

Responding to the AIU declaration, World Athletics said Russia would consider the call for expulsion if RusAF continues to deny any fault and if the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholds the charges.

World Athletics - previously known as the IAAF - said it would write to the acting RusAF president and to Russia's sports minister warning of the potential consequences of "their current 'blanket denials' approach".

However, an olive branch will also be offered to Russia.

The letter will spell out that if the charges are admitted to the World Athletics Council, then RusAF would face sanctions but would avoid expulsion, while a new process to reinstate the suspended membership of RusAF would also be decided upon.

RusAF has been out in the cold since 2015.

Importantly, World Athletics also said it would "decide on a new process for Russian athletes to apply for 'authorised neutral athlete' status moving forward", meaning Tokyo 2020 may not close its doors entirely to competitors from the country.

Yohan Blake believes IAAF president Sebastian Coe is "killing" athletics by cutting back on Diamond League disciplines.

Sweeping changes announced in November saw the 200 metres, 3,000m steeplechase, discus and triple jump removed from the schedule for the upcoming season in a bid to accommodate a 90-minute broadcast window.

Former 100m world champion and 200m Olympic silver medallist Blake thinks the decision will do more harm than good to the sport.

"It has changed a lot, I am not going to lie. The times we are running have slowed down, track and field is dying a little," said Blake.

"If [Coe] can take away the 200 and triple jump, I don't know if he is trying to build or trying to kill athletics.

"But that's a stupid move he is making. He must enhance the sport, but he is killing it. It is just madness.

"This is people's careers and where they make money… You cannot do that. Everybody is hating him. We have to take a stand."

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has suspended several leading Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) officials for their conduct during an investigation into high-jumper Danil Lysenko.

Russian athletes have been prohibited from representing their country since November 2015 following allegations of state-sponsored doping, which have been regularly denied.

Lysenko, a high jump silver medallist from the 2017 World Athletics Championships, was authorised by World Athletics to compete as a neutral athlete following the suspension of RusAF.

In June 2018, Lysenko was notified of a third "whereabouts" failure, with a notice of charge issued against him and a provisional suspension imposed in August 2018.

The AIU investigated the explanations provided by Lysenko, concluding the explanations were false and supported by forged documents.

A subsequent 15-month inquiry into RusAF's conduct has led to senior officials, including the organisation's president Dmitry Shlyakhtin, being charged with serious breaches of anti-doping rules, including a failure to co-operate with an investigation and obstructing an investigation.

In total, seven individuals associated with RusAF – Shlyakhtin, executive director Alexander Parkin, board member Artur Karamyan, senior administrator Elena Orlova, anti-doping coordinator Elena Ikonnikova, Lysenko and his coach Evgeniy Zagorulko – have been charged for anti-doping rule violations of tampering and/or complicity.

All seven have been handed suspensions with immediate effect.

RusAF has until December 12 to respond to the notice, and the AIU board may refer the matter to the World Athletics Council.

There has been a significant backlash against the IAAF’s decision to cut eight events – four male and four female – from the Diamond League circuit for the upcoming season.

The marathon and race walking events for the 2020 Olympic Games will be moved from host city Tokyo to Sapporo in a bid to protect athletes from the heat, it was announced on Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated the switch to Hokkaido, the northern-most prefecture of Japan, could see participants competing in conditions five to six degrees centigrade cooler.

In a statement, the IOC said the plans are an attempt to "mitigate the effects of the temperatures which may occur next summer".

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: "We have been working closely with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 on the potential weather conditions at next year's Olympic Games and will continue to work with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 on the proposal to move the road events to Sapporo. 

"Giving athletes the best platform for their performances within the environment they are in is central to all major events, and we will work with the organisers to create the very best marathon and race walk courses for next year's Olympic Games."

IOC chief Thomas Bach added: "Athletes' health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns. 

"A range of measures to protect the athletes have already been announced. The new far-reaching proposals to move the marathon and race walking events show how seriously we take such concerns. 

"The Olympic Games are the platform where athletes can give 'once-in-a-lifetime' performances, and these measures ensure they have the conditions to give their best. I would like to thank World Athletics, and we look forward to working with them on the implementation."

The decision comes in the wake of the criticism organisers faced at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Marathon races were held in the early hours of the morning to try to alleviate the extreme heat of the day in Qatar, but several athletes collapsed and nearly half the field failed to finish in the women's marathon race.

It marks a further measure taken by Tokyo 2020, with athletics races of 5000 metres and longer scheduled to take place in the evening and all morning rugby matches to be completed before 12pm local time among other steps taken.

Christian Coleman revelled in being crowned the world 100 metres champion after sealing gold in Saturday's final in Doha.

The 23-year-old lit up the World Athletics Championships by recording the sixth fastest time in history, clocking an impressive 9.76seconds.

That effort saw him topple fellow American Justin Gatlin, who stood on top of the podium ahead of Coleman two years ago in London.

"World champion, it sounds incredible, too good to be true," said Coleman, who saw a case against him for reportedly missing three doping tests dropped by the United States Anti-Doping Agency earlier this month.

"For me to make it here and come out with a gold is incredible. I was just out of college two years ago and not many people expected me to win a silver. I expected to come out here and be great and upgrade my silver medal."

With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo drawing ever closer, Coleman admitted he had allowed his mind to wander to thoughts of competing in Japan next year.

"It's hard to compartmentalise and not think about Tokyo – that's huge to go to an Olympics," he said.

"I will be expected to go there and medal but the work doesn't stop. Hopefully I can make the team."

At the age of 37, there are questions over whether this was Gatlin's last appearance on the global stage.

But, having run a time of 9.89secs to claim silver, the divisive sprint veteran was proud of his effort and revealed his plans to join Coleman in Tokyo.

"This season was a testament to my endurance and will," he said. "I had setbacks this season. I just wanted to stay focused on this race and give it all I got for this season.

"Christian has ran a spectacular season, great times. I couldn't say it was a shock that he would do a great job here. I had to hold on and stay strong in my technique."

Asked if he will be at the Olympics next year, he replied: "I'm coming. I'm going to be better. I'm ready."

Christian Coleman took World Athletics Championships gold in the men's 100 metres final with the sixth quickest time in history.

The American clocked 9.76seconds to get revenge on compatriot Justin Gatlin after finishing second to his rival in London two years ago.

Gatlin ran 9.89seconds, while Andre De Grasse was third in 9.90secs, but once again the action was played out against the backdrop of a largely empty stadium in Doha.

There were three other finals before the blue-riband event, with winners crowned in the women's hammer throw and 10,000m, and the men's long jump.

COOL COLEMAN IS DOHA'S SPRINT KING

Coleman went into Saturday's final as the clear favourite to win and never looked in danger of suffering an upset loss.

Quick out of the blocks and leading from the off, the 23-year-old set a world-leading time to secure the biggest win of his career.

His closest competition came from the divisive Gatlin who, at the age of 37, took silver as he surrendered his world title.

The top five – completed by Akani Simbine and Yohan Blake – all ran under 10 seconds.

 

GAYLE SEALS LONG JUMP TRIUMPH

Tajay Gayle's leap of 8.69m won him gold in the men's long jump, a full 30cm ahead of Jeff Henderson.

The Jamaican, who only narrowly qualified for the final, set a world-leading distance with his fourth attempt, which proved to be his last.

Olympic champion Henderson could only register 8.17m with his final effort, leaving him to settle for silver with a best jump of 8.39m.

Cuba's Juan Miguel Echevarria was third after posting a distance of 8.34m.

Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan prevailed in the 10,000m, with Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey and Kenya's Agnes Jebet Tirop rounding off the podium.

DeAnna Price sealed another gold for the USA in the women's hammer throw, with Joanna Fiodorow taking silver for Poland and Wang Zheng adding a bronze to China's medal tally.

USA CLAIM WORLD RECORD

The first world record of this championships went to America's mixed 4x400m relay team.

Tyrell Richard, Jessica Beard, Jasmine Blocker and Obi Igbokwe combined to run 3:12.42 on the event's maiden outing at this competition.

Jamaica came a close second, with Bahrain third.

Kevin Mayer has branded the World Athletics Championships in Doha "a disaster", citing the heat and a lack of fans.

The world champion decathlete did not hold back as he criticised the decision to award the event to the Qatari capital. 

Frenchman Mayer suggested it was only his "passion" for competition that prevented him from boycotting. 

"We can all see it's a disaster, there is no-one in the stands, and the heat has not been adapted at all," he said. 

"There have already been nearly 30 withdrawals in the women's marathon. It's sad.

"We have to leave reason aside and more concentrate on the passion, because if not I would have boycotted these championships.

"We haven't really prioritised athletes when organising the championships here. It makes it difficult."

The IAAF released a statement on Saturday insisting the local organising committee had "done everything possible to minimise the heat-related risks".

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