Danil Lysenko

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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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Russian track and field stars barred from competition

Anna Chicherova
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Anna Chicherova, the 2012 Olympic high jump champion, and Danil Lysenko, the world No. 2 men’s high jumper, have both been barred from international competition, according to Russian media and the IAAF.

Chicherova had her application to compete as a neutral athlete denied by the IAAF, according to Russian media citing the Russian track and field federation.

Chicherova had been suspended for two years since 2016 and held out of the Rio Olympics after a retest of a 2008 Olympic doping sample came back positive for an anabolic steroid.

That failed test led to her 2008 Olympic bronze medal being stripped, but Chicherova remained 2011 World and 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

Lysenko, 21, was provisionally suspended from international competition for failing to update drug testers on his whereabouts to make himself available for testing. Any combination of three missed tests and filing failures in a 12-month period results in punishment.

Lysenko ranked second in the world in the high jump the last two years behind world champion Mutaz Barshim of Qatar.

Athletes cannot compete as Russians as the nation is still banned from track and field for its poor anti-doping record, though many Russians are able to compete as neutral athletes.

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Vashti Cunningham takes silver in world indoors high jump

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Vashti Cunningham followed her breakout 2016 World Indoor high jump title with silver to open the biennial global championships in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Thursday.

Russian Maria Lasitskene took gold with a clearance of 1.96 meters (later clearing 2.01 and missing three tries at 2.07). Lasitskene is one of the world’s most dominant athletes, winning her last 38 finals dating to July 2016.

Cunningham, 20, cleared 1.93 meters to grab silver. She missed all three attempts at 1.96 despite clearing that height on her first attempt at her two previous meets this season.

The daughter of retired NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham was 13th at the Rio Olympics and 10th at last year’s world championships as a teenager. She is experienced yet also the youngest member of the 53-athlete U.S. roster in Birmingham.

Cunningham won the 2016 World Indoor title against a field that did not include Lasitskene but did include Spaniard Ruth Beitia, who went on to win the Rio Olympics and then retire last year.

In the men’s high jump Thursday, Russian Danil Lysenko upset Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim by clearing 2.36 meters for gold. Barshim had the world’s best clearances each of the last four years and relegated Lysenko to silver at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships.

American Erik Kynard, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, took fourth.

Later Thursday, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba won her third straight world title in the 3000m. The indoor mile world-record holder went to the lead with 1000m to go and prevailed by .63 of a second in 8:45.05.

Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan held off Brit Laura Muir by one tenth for silver. The top American was Olympic 5000m finalist Shelby Houlihan in fifth.

World Indoors continues through Sunday on NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold, highlighted by new 60m sprint world-record holder Christian Coleman.

World Indoors marks the lone global meet of the year, since outdoor worlds are held in odd-numbered years, and the next Olympics are in 2020.

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WORLD INDOORS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule