Tallent demands gold medal after Russia report

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November 10, 2015 4:17 pm

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian race walker Jared Tallent, an Olympic silver-medallist behind a drug cheat, has reiterated his demand for a gold medal in the wake of an explosive report into systemic doping in Russian athletics.

A World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) special commission reported allegations of widespread corruption and collusion by Russian officials, including state security services, to cover up results of drug tests, destroy samples and intimidate laboratory staff.

The WADA report also identified “systematic failures” at the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, which has been rocked by a French judicial investigation into fraud involving its former chief Lamine Diack and other senior officials.

At London 2012, Tallent finished second in the 50km walk behind Russian Sergei Kirdyapkin, who was found guilty of doping earlier this year and handed a three-year, two-month suspension by Russia’s anti-doping agency.

The ban was backdated to Oct. 2012, shortly after the Games concluded.

“The allegations are absolutely shocking to find out the man who beat me in London, Sergei Kirdyapkin, probably should have been banned as early as 2011 but the IAAF held off from banning him until after the Olympic Games in London,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“So, effectively letting him race even though they knew he was a dope cheat and then he went on and beat me for the gold medal.

“It’s pretty devastating. It makes you very angry just to know that your international federation, the sporting body that should be protecting clean athletes, was looking after the dope cheats.”

The WADA commission said in its report outlined on Monday that the 2012 Olympics had in effect been “sabotaged” by the inaction of national anti-doping authorities and the IAAF.

The Kremlin and Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko have both insisted there was no evidence for the commission’s accusations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Athletics Australia boss Phil Jones backed WADA’s call to ban Russia from international athletics and next years Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Jones told reporters in Melbourne that he hoped Tallent’s performances would be “properly recognised” in the wake of the report.

New IAAF president Sebastian Coe has given Russia a week to respond formally to the allegations.

Tallent said he felt more questions needed to be asked of the IAAF, including Coe, who was vice-president under former chief Diack for a number of years.

“Those are questions that need to be asked,” Tallent said. “Not enough has come out.”

Tallent has said he will boycott the World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary, Russia next year unless it is moved from the country.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O’Brien)

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