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

Yelena Isinbayeva prepares to retire after Russian ban from Rio

Yelena Isinbayeva
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Two-time Olympic pole vault champ Yelena Isinbayeva, Russia’s most famous track and field athlete, said she sees “no sense in continuing my training further,” according to her social media translated by Russian media.

The comment came after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Thursday that Isinbayeva and 67 other Russian track and field athletes will not be allowed to compete in Rio.

Isinbayeva said she will train through Sunday, when the International Olympic Committee executive board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting to consider a possible ban of all Russian athletes from Rio.

Isinbayeva said it would take “a miracle” for Russian track and field athletes (other than the allowed Yulia Stepanova and Darya Klishina) to be let back into the Games, according to Russian media.

Isinbayeva, 34 and the world-record holder, last competed internationally at the 2013 World Championships (where she won) and then took off 2014 and 2015 and early 2016 due to a pregnancy and then injury.

In her June return, she cleared 4.90 meters to win the Russian Championship in Cheboksary. It’s the best clearance of any woman in the world this year. Isinbayeva would be the Olympic favorite if she was allowed to compete in Rio.

“We were planning to clear the height not lower than 5.1 meters [in Rio],” Isinbayeva, whose world record is 5.06 meters, said, according to Russian news agency TASS. “My coach and I expected that I would win with a world record at the Olympics.”

With Isinbayeva out, the Olympic favorites include London 2012 champion Jenn Suhr of the U.S., 2015 World champion Yarisley Silva of Cuba and Brazil’s most decorated active track and field athlete, Fabiana Murer.

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