Fake medical records, staged car accidents … are how many Russian athletic leaders conceal the doping violation of high jump champion Danil Lysenko in 2018.

Lysenko was delighted to win the gold medal at the 2018 Indoor Athletics World Championship, in Birmingham, England.  Photo: Reuters

Lysenko rejoiced after winning the gold medal at the 2018 Indoor Athletics World Championship, in Birmingham, England. Image: Reuters

The Athletics Integrity Agency (AIU) in mid-February 2021 announced another shocking fraud of Russian athletics. The Lysenko case came to light three years after the World Athletics Federation removed Russia from its membership list on numerous doping fraud allegations.

Five former senior officials of the Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF) have been banned from sports for four years for their participation in the scandal. They include former RUSAF Chairman Dmitry Shlyakhtin, Executive Committee member Artur Karamyan, Executive Director Alexander Parkin, Senior Administrator Elena Orlova, and anti-doping coordinator Elena Ikonnikova.

Follow TelegraphThe five RUSAF officials mentioned above have come up with a meticulous plan, with fake medical records, from hospitals, doctor’s names to tests, and a staged car crash. Thanks to that, Lysenko escaped three doping tests in the same year that the 23-year-old grandmaster won the World Indoor track and field championship in Birmingham, England.

After the incident was uncovered, Lysenko and coach Evgeniy Zagorulko were also immediately suspended, to serve the next development of the investigation.

Turn over the old investigation

Lysenko is a famous Russian high jumper. He won the silver medal at the 2017 World Championship, the World Indoor Championships at Birmingham in March 2018, the Diamond League gold medal in Monaco in 2018. But in August 2018, he was banned by World Athletics for 12 months. because of doping use.

In early 2020, when the ban expired, Lysenko was immediately considered a strong candidate to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. However, when reviewing the case file, the AIU believes that the high jump athlete cannot pass the tests on his own. An extensive investigation was conducted, and after 15 months, the AIU found at least five high-ranking RUSAF officials directly concealing and assisting Lysenko in cheating.

Lysenko conquered the 2.36m bar in 2018

The jump helped Lysenko win the world championship in 2018.

AIU discovered “conspiracy was done” at the offices of the RUSAF, after Lysenko violated the third time. Stakeholders sought to account for the second time the male athlete’s doping test failed by invoking Lysenko’s illness during a training session in Portugal in late March 2018. They also forged information bringing him back to Moscow for treatment at a clinic called SD Clinic. Investigators later found that this clinic did not exist.

“After the meeting, Mr. Zagorulko phoned Mr. Karamyan – who was not in the meeting – to ask if he could give Lysenko a fake medical certificate. Mr. Karamyan has family members working in a facility. medical, “reports of the independent discipline board AIU recorded.

Karamyan gave evidence, asserting that his family had rejected the request. But in fact, the next day, somehow, a fake medical certificate was passed to coach Zagorulko. When Lysenko was asked to provide additional documents surrounding the doping allegation, the high-jump athlete was directed by the RUSAF to carry out a series of medical tests, thereby supplementing information for fake medical documents from The clinic is not real, with Karamyan behind.

“The clinic is not real and has a fake address in Moscow, using a license that has been granted to another company,” the conclusion of the AIU’s investigation has paragraph. The address of the clinic is, in fact, a demolished building.

The address where Lysenko was registered as a hospital was in fact the demolished building in Moscow.  Photo: Google Map

The address where Lysenko was registered as a hospital was in fact the demolished building in Moscow. Image: Google Map

As a reason for failing to pass a third doping test, Lysenko said he had a car accident in June 2018, and “became distracted by his injuries and the car’s malfunction”. The athlete who won a silver gold high jump at the 2017 London World Championship in fact had a car ear in July 2018. But he deliberately misrepresented the time to bypass the authorities.

When the story was about to come out and faced further charges of tampering with evidence, Lysenko spoke to his private lawyer – Paul Greene, the American – to try to deceive investigators. According to the documents, Greene advised Lysenko to tell the truth to the AIU, otherwise he would stop cooperating. Lysenko refused, and Greene ended the relationship with the client. The high-jump athlete was then cooperated and defended by a Russian lawyer, who once represented the Russian Athletics Federation.

Concluding the report, the independent disciplinary board said: “These are the most serious offenses committed by the heads of the RUSAF. It seems that most, if not all, govern. RUSAF’s senior management was involved in this unprecedented major fraud. This is a shock, Mr. Shlyakhtin and Mr. Karamyan – as senior officers – bear great responsibility for what happened. In the panel’s view, four years may not be appropriate and not enough. ” However, four years is the maximum statutory penalty.

Achievements of AIU

AIU is funded $ 8 million, 12% of World Athletics’ annual budget. This investigation team includes former intelligence officials, each handling many cases involving famous athletes. Braking Lysenko’s fraud is considered one of the AIU’s greatest successes.

During the retrieval of the case, the AIU conducted 22 interviews with witnesses, translated about 7,000 documents from Russian into English, kept six terabytes of data related to the case confidential, after seizing the phone. , a computer hard drive that Lysenko and Russian athletics officials use. By recovering files deleted in a hurry before handing over, including email, voice messages sent on the platform WhatsApp, the investigators gradually recreated the drama.

Shlyakhtin speaks at the General Assembly of the World Athletic Federation, Doha in September 2019.  He resigned as President of RUSAF in late November 2019, after being exposed to his role in Lysenko's fraud.  Photo: AP

Shlyakhtin speaks at the General Assembly of the World Athletic Federation, Doha in September 2019. He resigned as President of RUSAF in late November 2019, after being exposed to his role in Lysenko’s fraud. Image: AP

AIU President David Howman said: “These are key decisions for athletics. AIU was created to be an independent and unafraid organization. Our work in conspiracy discovery. and the fraud this time proves AIU is fulfilling its role to hold fraudsters accountable, regardless of their stature or status. “

On Lysenko’s side, he received a 12-month suspension from August 2018. But with the new finding from the AIU, Russian athletes can be banned for up to eight years, and as such, will not have a chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

Lysenko is just one of too many doping scandals for Russian athletics in particular and Russian sports in general. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Doping (WADA), more than 1,000 Russian athletes in 30 different sports are involved in doping.

Since 2015, Russian athletics have been banned from competing for the top because of a doping scandal. RUSAF used to find ways to get World Athletics accepted for them to rejoin. However, in the process of campaigning, the fraud concealment for Danil Lysenko was uncovered.

The incident left other Russian athletes no chance before this year’s Tokyo Olympics. World Athletics announced it could stop considering the eligibility of Russian athletes. If this happens, Russian athletics will once again stay out of the Olympics, after the 2016 tournament was banned.

Thuy Lien (follow Telegraph)

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