Tag Archives: Laura Weightman

Paula Radcliffe : Faith in Wada undermined

The reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency undermines the faith clean athletes have in the World Anti-Doping Agency, says marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.

Wada has ended a three-year suspension which followed a major scandal over alleged state-sponsored doping.

Briton Radcliffe is one of several leading current and former athletes to criticize Thursday’s decision.

“This goes against everything Wada is supposed to stand for,” she said.

“It undermines their credibility and the faith clean athletes have in them.”

‘To bank on the Russians is naive’

The Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) had been suspended since 2015 over alleged state-backed doping after it was accused of covering up drug abuse – including while the country hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – in a Wada-commissioned report.

Russia was ordered to meet set criteria before Rusada could be readmitted, which included accepting the findings of the McLaren report into state-sponsored doping and granting access to Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.

Last week, Wada’s compliance review committee recommended reinstatement after it received assurances from the Russian sports ministry that the country had “sufficiently acknowledged” failures.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the reinstatement, agreed by its executive committee at a meeting in the Seychelles, was “subject to strict conditions”.

However, Radcliffe said she felt Russia has “never accepted the harm they did to clean sport globally” and that the initial criteria set out by Wada “shouldn’t have been up for negotiation”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, she added: “You can’t move the goalposts now without destroying the credibility of Wada.”

On Wednesday, the BBC revealed details of a compromise proposed by Wada director general Olivier Niggli to Russia’s Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov on how to improve the country’s chances of readmission to international sport.

British Olympic track cycling champion Callum Skinner said lifting the ban was “incredibly disappointing” because Wada should be “there to protect clean sport, not there to protect the people they have sanctioned”.

“This is a step backwards in the fight towards making sport cleaner,” he said.

As part of the post-reinstatement conditions, Wada has demanded access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples by the end of 2018.

Skinner said it was “quite troubling” for Wada to rely on Rusada providing this access when it had not previously under the original conditions of reinstatement.

“To now bank on the Russians to hold up their end of the deal is naive,” he said.

What have other British athletes said?

Goldie Sayers is finally set to receive 2008 Olympic javelin bronze after Russia’s Mariya Abakumova, who initially won silver, was stripped of her medal and failed in her appeal against a doping ban.

Sayers, who retired last year, told BBC Radio 4 Rusada’s reinstatement was a “devastating blow for clean athletes” and that Wada had rushed into the decision.

“Leaders in sports governance forget who they are there to serve. We need governance that is there for the athletes because you do feel very powerless at times,” she said.

“There is a credibility issue in sport and Wada have not helped themselves in that at all. You have to accept that you have a problem before you can change and changing a culture takes years and years, not three years.”

Race walker Tom Bosworth called on Reedie to resign and accused the Wada president of having “let all clean, hard-working athletes down”.

Olympic breaststroke gold medallist Adam Peaty said Wada’s decision was an example of “how to lose the respect of all clean athletes real quick”.

Paralympic powerlifting silver medallist Ali Jawad said: “I’m sorry for every clean athlete around the world let down by Wada. We will keep fighting for our rights to compete clean. I promise we will win the fight one day. We may have lost the battle today but we will win the war.”

Commonwealth 5,000m bronze medallist Laura Weightman said: “Wada should be protecting all the hard-working, clean athletes out there, but they have let us all down.”

Grigory Rodchenkov speaks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan in February 2018

‘A slap in the face’ – reaction from anti-doping heads

US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) head Travis Tygart said the decision was a “catastrophic outcome” for clean athletes and sports fans.

“We all want every nation in the Olympics, particularly those that are competitive and powerful and influential like Russia – but not at the expense of the Olympic values,” he told BBC Sport.

“We trusted them, they cheated like never before.

“This is a slap in the face for those who put clean sport and fair play above sport politics and the influence that money and large countries have within the sport promotion arena.”

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) chief executive Nicole Sapstead said she was “incredibly saddened” by Wada’s move.

“Ukad had hoped the decision to reinstate Russia would be postponed, at least for a few months so that some due consideration could be given to the compromise that seems to have been put on the table,” she told the BBC.

“It’s important an entity like Wada exists – it is there to uphold a set of rules that apply to every country and every athlete. But that sort of organisation has to be beyond reproach, it has to uphold the stands and it has to be held to account when it hasn’t.

“Wada needs to move forward in a constructive way, it needs to repair the damage it has done to the athlete community and to the wider anti-doping community, and it needs to restore the trust we have in it.”

There was also objection within Wada, with two of the 12-strong executive committee voting against Rusada’s reinstatement – New Zealand’s Clayton Cosgrove and Wada vice-president Linda Helleland.

Norwegian politician Helleland, who hopes to replace Briton Reedie as Wada president next year, said the organisation had “failed the clean athletes of the world”.

“This casts a dark shadow over the credibility of the anti-doping movement – it was wrong to welcome Rusada back until they had fully and transparently met the roadmap.”

Rusada’s suspension was imposed in November 2015

The reaction from Russia

Russia has repeatedly denied running a state-sponsored doping programme and continued to deny full access to and retained control of its Moscow laboratory.

In a letter to Wada president Reedie last week, Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said: “I am grateful for your acknowledgement of the significant achievements in rebuilding Rusada.”

Russian MP and 2006 Olympic speed skating champion Svetlana Zhurova echoed Kolobkov’s comments, saying “much has been done” to reform Rusada to “get to this stage”.

“We changed our legislation, we’ve travelled a long journey to correct mistakes and act on Wada’s comments,” she told the BBC.

“Russia has recognised and corrected nearly all the points in the McLaren report. Some of the points in that report even the Court of Arbitration of Sport didn’t recognise and some Russian sportsmen had their medals returned.”

She added that “Russia has been punished enough” and the “complaints don’t exist today”.

“If we keep looking back, at when Russia didn’t do this, we won’t make any progress,” she said.

“Of course, if someone in the West doesn’t want our athletes and Paralympians to compete, you will still hear voices saying: ‘Do not reinstate Rusada.’

“If you don’t want to see Russia as a rival in track and field and Paralympics, then I understand this – but this is more politics than common sense.”

World 3000m Steeplechase record holder takes on Chespol and Cherono in Brussels

World 3,000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will headline the Final Zurich Brussels Diamond League Meeting that will be held on Friday (31) in Brussels, Belgium.

The 27 year-old who became the first woman to break 8:50 and 8:45 will face off with with Africa silver medallist Celliphine Chespol and bronze medallist Fancy Cherono.

Other Kenyans on the start list are former world champion Hyving Kiyeng, Caroline Tuigong, Daisy Jepkemei and Norah Jeruto for company in the water jump event.

The Kenyans water champions will battle for the honors with World champion Emma Coburn of the United States and Commonwealth Games champion Aisha Praught of Jamaica.

Africa 1,500 meters champion Winny Chebet is lined up for the event, where she faces stern test from several world beaters including England’s Laura Muir and Laura Weightman, Netherlands’ Hassan Sifan and Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia.

Commonwealth Games 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal faces off with Africa silver medallist Emmanuel Korir, Ferguson Rotich, Cornelius Tuwei, with Marcin Lewadonski of Poland also in the mix.

Laura Muir wins 1500m gold in European Championships

Laura Muir enjoyed the breakthrough of a first major outdoor title on a glorious night for Scottish athletics in Berlin.

Muir stormed to European Championships 1,500m gold with an incredible display of utter domination and, minutes later, Eilish McColgan won a silver medal in a remarkable 5,000m. It was a first ever victory for Great Britain in the event and ended Muir’s wait to land a big one, 12 months after the agony of a hair’s breadth fourth place in the London world championships.

The 25-year-old from Milnathort, who is a double European indoor champion at 1,500m and 3,000m and took world indoor 1,500m silver earlier in the year, produced an awesome display of front-running to decimate the field, with team-mate Laura Weightman taking the bronze medal.

It was the perfect end to a trying season for Muir, who qualified as a vet after completing final exams which saw her miss the Commonwealth Games. Just a few weeks ago she suffered the disappointment of missing out on Zola Budd’s 33-year-old British mile record when she finished fifth at the London Anniversary Games.

The best of Europe had no answer for Muir’s class, however, as she made the break at the halfway mark. A lightning fast middle 800m in 2.03 had the Scot in firm control, with Weightman tucking in behind in what turned into that rarest of things – a true run middle distance race in a major final. With 200m to go it was clear that Muir had made no misjudgment as she streaked away for a brilliant gold in a swift time of 4:02.32.

Weightman yielded silver to Sofia Ennaoui of Poland but the gritty Northumbrian, who along with the great Dame Kelly Holmes was the only Brit to have won a European 1,500m medal, held off Ireland’s Ciara Mageean to join Muir on the podium.

“I just knew the girls had a good finish so the longer I left it the riskier it would be so I just ran as hard as I could for the finish line,” said Muir. “It was great Laura could get in behind me too. “It was probably the most pressure I’ve been under in terms of the level of expectation to win, it was something new for me and I think I’ve handled it really well. “I’m just thankful for the support I’ve had from back home and here as well.”

Semenya heads strong Birmingham 1500m field

Triple world and double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya has been confirmed as the next headline star due to compete at next month’s Müller Grand Prix Birmingham IAAF Diamond League fixture on Saturday 18 August.

Serving as her first ever race in Birmingham, the South African star will compete over 1500m at the Alexander Stadium, eager to build upon her UK successes following her triumphs at the London 2012 Olympics and last summer’s IAAF World Championships.

“It has been such an amazing 12 months for me and I cannot wait to continue it by competing back in the UK again and in Birmingham for the first time ever,” Semenya said. She may be targeting her own South African record time of 3:59.92 she set at the Diamond League opener in Doha in early May.

The 27-year-old is expected to emerge as one of the biggest stars at the African Championships which begin today in Asaba, Nigeria, where she’ll compete in at least three events and possibly four if the amended schedule will allow.

Among those joining Semenya in the Birmingham race is five-time world championship medallist Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands. Hassan impressively won the inaugural Millicent Fawcett mile in London less than two weeks ago in a time of 4:14.71, the fourth quickest women’s mile time in history, and is sure to relish returning to Birmingham having set Dutch records on her previous two outings in the city.

Also set to be present is Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, an athlete who carries extraordinary range with sub-2:00, sub-4:00 and sub-15:00 minute personal best times for 800m, 1500m and 5000m respectively, while world championship finalists Winny Chebet of Kenya, and Laura Weightman and Sarah McDonald of Breat Britain will also be in the hunt.

Muir Strengthens Her Lead atop the Diamond League Standings With Season’s Best In Lausanne

Laura Muir (club: Dundee Hawkhill, coach: Andy Young) was the standout British performer as she claimed second place in a season’s best in a highly competitive women’s 1500m in Lausanne.

Muir ran a smart race and kicked with 250 metres to go, leaving a trail of four runners in her wake, only to be caught by Shelby Houlihan (USA) in the closing stages, who set a new meeting record and personal best of 3:57.34.

Muir held off the challenge of the rapidly advancing Sifan Hassan (NED) to clock 3:58.18 and earn herself seven Diamond League points in the process to maintain her lead at the top of the women’s 1500m standings.

After the race, Muir said: “I knew it was going to be a fast race that the girls had asked for. I was happy to sit in on the first half, work hard and use my strength in the second half.  I felt a lot better than I did in the race a couple of weeks ago so it’s a step in the right direction.

“I could see Tsegay was tiring so I thought I had to go at that stage and not leave it to a sprint finish. I just wanted to run as far as I could. I nearly got the win so I’m really pleased with that.”

Fellow Brits Laura Weightman (Steve Cram, Morpeth) and Eilish McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill, Liz Nuttall) recorded season’s bests of 4:01.76 and 4:01.98 respectively to take the final two spots in the points.

Commonwealth Games medallist Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark, Poole AC) could not make her way into the points, finishing tenth in 4:06.27.

In the field, Shara Proctor (Rana Reider, Birchfield Harriers) was the best of the Brits in the women’s long jump, claiming four Diamond League points with a best of 6.62m (wind: 2.0m/s). Malaika Mihambo (GER) saved her best jump until last as she matched Ivana Spanovic (SRB) with a mark of 6.90m (1.3m/s), taking victory via countback.

Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson, Thames Valley Harriers) could not replicate her world leading mark of 7.05m set at the Muller British Athletics Championships, finishing seventh with a best effort of 6.48m (-0.1m/s) set in the third round.

Proctor assessed: “It was OK.  I was consistent but not as good as some days.  I have a number of things to work on but I have two weeks before London.  I’m excited to be going back for more training and some technical work.  I made some mistakes tonight and I will fix them for next time.”

Following her jumps, world lead Ugen added: “I was a little bit flat after all the stress I put my body through last weekend, getting the PB. It was hard getting my body going again and jumping that far. I probably need to get back into training and to have a cool down before I get back up again. It was a good competition and I had fun out there, hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be back on top form.”

Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon, Edinburgh AC) clocked a new season’s best of 2:01.22, as she claimed one point in a fast women’s 800m, won by Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) in 1:57.80.

Jack Green (June Pews, Kent) made the most of being promoted from the B-race into the Diamond League race by clocking 49.52. Abderrahman Samba (QAT) won the race in 47.42 – his seventh victory on the circuit this season.

Green added: “They’re fast boys!  This event has really stepped up so it’s about time I did as well.  I have lots of work to do.  It’s hard to race here just after the trials but if you’re seeking excellence, this is the kind of thing you need to be able to do and get better at.  This is a very long year, starting with the Commonwealths. I’m still holding on, just.

“Samba is impressive, being able to put together races back to back, 46 seconds one week, then 47. He is consistently there all the time, he’s obviously put the work in. But it is not just that because he’s executing races, whatever the conditions – which in 400m hurdles is really hard to do. I’m looking forward to being in more races with him and hopefully watching him against Benjamin next year.”

Martyn Rooney (Graham Hedman, Croydon) took victory in the men’s 400m B-race in 46.16, a shade outside his season’s best, with Owen Smith (Matt Elias, Cardiff) third in 46.90.

Marcel Hug (SUI) claimed a closely fought men’s wheelchair 1500m in a tight finish in 3:19.87 with Great Britain’s Richard Chiassaro (Jennifer Banks, Harlow AC) fourth in 3:20.75.

Niall Flannery (Matt Elias, Gateshead Harriers) came home fourth in the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.57, behind Luke Campbell (GER) who clocked 49.54 to take victory, with Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan, Herts Phoenix) producing a good run to finish fourth in women’s 200m in 22.85, a race won by Gabrielle Thomas (USA) in 22.47.

britishathletics.org.uk

Obiri lifts the 5000m crown at the Gold Coast

World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri led Margaret Kipkemboi to another 1-2 Kenya sweep at the Commonwealth Games that were held on Saturday morning at the Carrara Stadium in Austalia.

Obiri crossed the line in 15:13.11 with Kipkemboi following her in 15:15.28.

England’s Laura Weightman managed to pull 15:25.84 to close the first podium three slots.