Russia investigated for doping forgery claim related to world silver medalist

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MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian track and field federation said Sunday it’s cooperating with an investigation into allegations its officials submitted forged paperwork in a doping case.

British newspaper The Sunday Times reported that documents from a fake clinic were filed to the Athletics Integrity Unit, which investigates doping cases, as evidence an athlete was too ill to update anti-doping officials on his whereabouts.

The case could derail Russia’s efforts to end its suspension from international track and field in time for next year’s Olympics. Track’s world governing body, the IAAF, is due to rule next week on whether to maintain the ban.

The athlete in question is world silver medalist high jumper Danil Lysenko. The 22-year-old is widely considered one of Russia’s best young athletes and was one of dozens of top Russians with IAAF-issue “neutral status,” allowing him to compete internationally.

However, last year he was suspended on accusations of failing to make himself available for drug testing by giving accurate updates on his whereabouts.

Failing to do so three times in 12 months generally leads to a ban, but sanctions can be reduced or removed altogether if there are mitigating circumstances such as serious illness.

“In the case of Lysenko, the federation is providing full assistance to the Athletics Integrity Unit and we are in contact and cooperation,” federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said in a statement, adding that the federation “has an interest in the investigation being objective.”

The federation didn’t comment when asked whether any of its staff were suspended.

The AIU confirmed it is investigating a Russian athlete’s explanation in a whereabouts case, but didn’t give further details.

“The IAAF is sticking to the process we have followed since RUSAF was suspended,” the IAAF said using an abbreviation for the Russian federation. “The (IAAF’s Russia task force) will prepare a report on all relevant matters and a recommendation for the IAAF council, which will meet in Monaco on June 8 and 9.”

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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