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WADA force Russia to axe hero Isinbayeva

 

By Steve Simpson

Yelena Isinbayeva will be removed from a key anti-doping position in Russia as she is a barrier to the country's compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency code, the body says.

The double Olympic pole vault champion, 34, has been critical of the punishment of Russian athletes over evidence of state-sponsored doping in the country.

She was one of those banned from taking part in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Russia has until November to comply, or those athletes will remain suspended.

Isinbayeva, now retired, was not mentioned by name as the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) gave its latest update on Russia's progress towards compliance. But after former Wada president Dick Pound referenced opposition to her appointment in March, Rob Koehler, chair of Wada's Compliance and Review Committee, said: "As of 31 May, the person will be gone."

Russia's deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko yesterday said Isinbayeva "will definitely step down from her post".

Wada also announced plans to introduce new powers that would allow it to ban individual national Olympic committees and international sport federations that fail to meet its rules.

Last year the body recommended a blanket ban on Russian athletes from Rio 2016, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) left it up to individual sports' governing bodies to decide.

The plans need approval from signatories - including the IOC - but Wada would like to bring it into effect in early 2018, meaning it could ban Russia from the South Korea Winter Olympics.

Belfast Telegraph

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