The Russian Anti-Doping Agency suspended one of the country’s top race-walking officials on Monday in connection with a major doping investigation.
Viktor Kolesnikov is a director of Russia’s race-walking centre in the city of Saransk. The centre has turned Russia into the dominant country in the sport, but has also seen at least 17 of their athletes banned or suspended for doping.
Some of the athletes affected include Olympic 20-kilometer champion Elena Lashmanova, banned for two years in June, and Stanislav Emelyanov, stripped of his 2010 European gold medal last month.
RUSADA said Kolesnikov is accused of “a possible breach of anti-doping rules,” but did not provide further details.
The agency announced last month it was investigating the Saransk center citing “multiple disqualifications of athletes.”
IAAF vice-president Sergei Bubka has said the sport’s governing body is also investigating following an online campaign led by Olympic walking medalist Jared Tallent, who has demanded Russian walking coach Viktor Chegin be banned from the sport over his athletes’ doping record.
Bubka said on Twitter in June that the IAAF was “looking into” claims of malpractice in the Russian team following Tallent’s campaign and that the IAAF’s race-walking officials had “raised serious concern.”
Chegin was removed from the country’s delegation for this month’s European Championships by the Russian Athletics Federation after Lashmanova was banned, but remained in his job and did eventually attend the competition in Zurich.
Chegin has been in charge of all training for more than a decade at the Saransk center, which has been renamed in his honour.