Yelena Isinbayeva

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Olympic legend out as chair of Russia anti-doping agency

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MONTREAL (AP) — A World Anti-Doping official says Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva will be out as chairwoman of the Russian anti-doping agency at the end of the month.

Deputy director general Rob Koehler delivered a report about the Russian doping scandal to the WADA foundation board Thursday. He said the Russian agency must find an independent chair as part of a long list of reforms that will bring it back in compliance.

Isinbayeva has called investigations into Russian doping an anti-Russian plot. Her appointment as chairwoman has been roundly criticized by WADA.

Koehler didn’t specifically mention Isinbayeva in his report, but when pressed by WADA member Dick Pound of the status of “the person about whom everyone has complained,” Koehler responded: “To be very clear, as of the 31st of May, the person will be gone.”

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Yelena Isinbayeva to oversee Russia Anti-Doping Agency

Yelena Isinbayeva
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MOSCOW (AP) — Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has been chosen to chair the new supervisory board of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, which is struggling to recover its reputation after repeated doping scandals.

The agency, known as RUSADA, said in a statement on Wednesday that Isinbayeva would head a 10-person board including sports executives, academics, and a Russian sports ministry official.

Isinbayeva was part of the Russian athletics team which was banned from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for widespread drug use, though she has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Isinbayeva’s appointment could cause tension with the World Anti-Doping Agency, which she has sharply criticized, saying its accusations against Russia are unproven, and calling for athlete-turned-whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to be banned for life.

Isinbayeva’s first task at Rusada will be to persuade WADA to restore the agency’s compliance status, allowing it to conduct testing again.

“The effectiveness with which that fight (against doping) will be carried out in Russia depends on when Rusada gets back its compliance,” Isinbayeva said in a statement. “That is what we see our main task to be, and we will put maximum effort into it.”

RUSADA was suspended in November 2015 after a WADA commission report accused its officials of colluding to cover up doping and giving athletes advance warning for supposedly no-notice tests. Since February, the United Kingdom anti-doping agency has handled testing in Russia.

Isinbayeva’s appointment comes as she is a candidate to head the All-Russia Athletics Federation, which remains suspended from international competition. It was not immediately clear whether she planned to withdraw from the federation elections on Friday.

MORE: Russia track and field ban to last into 2017

Russia Olympic Committee president to step down

Alexander Zhukov
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MOSCOW (AP) — Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, says he is ready to step down.

Zhukov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Tuesday that he wants to devote attention to his position as a deputy speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. He will remain as a member of the International Olympic Committee, he said, according to state news agency TASS.

Zhukov’s six-year tenure as head of the Russian committee has spanned the turbulent scandal over widespread doping that caused Russian track and field athletes to be banned from this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Two-time Olympic pole-vault gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva has been reported as saying she wants to head the Russian committee.

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