Running News: New Doping Accusations in Track & Field

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    By Megan Black

    On Monday, November 9th the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held an urgent executive board meeting to tackle the growing accusations of doping and corruption that has tainted Track and Field sports. The IOC acted in response to the report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that suggested the existence of a widespread, state-sponsored doping program underway in Russia – linking everyone from the government to the coaches and team officials to the case. Notably, the former International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) President has been placed under provisional suspension by French authorities due to recent allegations of corruption and money laundering in the cover up of Russian doping cases.

    Women's 1500m race

    The WADA commission has recommended that Russia’s Track and Field team federation be suspended until demonstrable anti-doping efforts are put forth. On Friday the IAAF is scheduled to come to a decision whether to suspend Russia, which could potentially restrict Russian athletes from competing in the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic body issued a statement on Tuesday in response to the doping corruption that ensuring that during the 2012 London Olympics, “the IOC expects the IAAF and WADA to consider all necessary action to be taken to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust.”

    34-year-old Canadian track and field athlete Hilary Stellingwerff recently came forward to voice her opinion on the matter in a CTV news interview. Stellingwerff missed qualifying for the 1500 meter final in the 2012 London Olympics by one spot. It has only recently been brought to the IOC’s attention that the majority of the finalists were doping. Since the games, three of the finalists – including the gold medalists – have been disqualified for doping infractions.

    The president and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, Paul Melia has also come forward to issue a statement. His statement issued to CTV News reads:

    “The findings are profoundly disturbing and extremely disappointing,” said Melia in a statement. “WADA has put the rules in place and is mandated to oversee anti-doping efforts around the world; but, clearly, this report confirms there’s still a long way to go before we have a level playing field for athletes who choose to compete clean.”

    Athletics Canada’s head coach Peter Eriksson responded to WADA’s Monday report, reminding Canadians that this ought to be seen in a positive light. Canada, he says, is not a cheating country and therefore this will only harm the countries that partake in such practices.

    To check out the CTV News article with more detail: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/canadian-track-and-field-athletes-applaud-wada-s-crackdown-on-russian-team-1.2650299#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=MoJ60zR

    Stay tuned and check back for any progress made by the International Olympic Committee on the matter.