GENEVA – Three Russian canoeists, including a gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, were banned on Friday for taking part in the state-backed doping program eight years ago.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport says in a statement from Lausanne, Switzerland, that its judges upheld appeals filed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after the International Canoe Federation declined to pursue individual cases.
The judges were “comfortably satisfied that Aleksandr Dyachenko, Nikolay Lipkin and Aleksandra Dupik each committed anti-doping violations and that the ICF’s decision not to pursue the cases was wrong,” the court said.
Four-year bans for doping on steroids have been imposed on Dyachenko, Olympic champion in the men’s K2 200-metre sprint in London, and Lipkin, a multiple world champion who will be stripped of a title won in 2014 in Moscow.
The CAS said a two-year ban has been imposed on paracanoist Dupik, who tested positive in 2014 for the diuretic furosemide which can be used to mask the presence of other drugs.
The cases were prosecuted using evidence from the testing lab in Moscow which was closed in 2015 when the state’s doping program was detailed.
The lab’s samples and data have been at the center of a years-long standoff between Moscow state authorities and WADA. The dispute led to a CAS case which saw the Russian team’s name, flag and anthem banned from the Tokyo Olympics last year and the Beijing Winter Games in February.
CAS said in a statement that the canoeing and kayaking governing body “agreed that the evidence presented by WADA confirmed that Russian authorities conducted an institutionalized doping program and manipulated Moscow laboratory data for the purpose of to conceal such practices”.
“However, the ICF determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute these athletes individually and concluded that it would not pursue anti-doping rule violations against them,” the court said. .
WADA provided evidence from the Moscow lab to dozens of Olympic sports bodies to pursue disciplinary cases against Russian athletes, and had the right to appeal to CAS if the agency was unhappy with the decisions .