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Russia accused of athletics doping cover-up: report

Authorised Neutral Athlete Danil Lysenko celebrates after the winning clearence in the men’s high jump final at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships at the Arena in Birmingham on March 1, 2018 © AFP/File / Ben STANSALL

PARIS, France, Jun 3The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is investigating claims Russian officials tried to cover up a doping case involving high jumper Danil Lysenko, following a report in Britain’s Sunday Times.

Lysenko was provisionally suspended last August on the eve of the European Championships in Berlin, after failing to make himself available for out-of-competition drug testing.

According to the Sunday Times, Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) officials fabricated documents to show the 2017 world silver medallist was too ill to provide his whereabouts.

The newspaper claimed these documents came from fake doctors working at a bogus clinic in Moscow.

“The address used is a real address where there is a demolished building,” said a source with knowledge of the investigation in Russia.

The AIU, a watchdog founded by athletics’ governing body to combat doping in the sport, confirmed it was looking into “a matter relating to the explanation provided by a Russian athlete in defence of a whereabouts violation in 2018”.

It said it would make no further comment while the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators from the AIU have seized data from computers and other electric devices at RUSAF headquarters, the Sunday Times reported.

In an email sent Sunday to AFP, the IAAF said its taskforce “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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Global athletics chiefs banned Russia in November 2015 because of evidence of state-sponsored doping, but Russian athletes cleared by the IAAF can compete as neutrals.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, US-based long jumper Darya Klishina was the only Russian athlete cleared to participate.

Last year Lysenko, the world indoor champion, had been one of 74 athletes allowed to compete under a neutral flag before losing his status.

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