Jessica Ennis-Hill's coach calls for inquiry into Tatyana Chernova ban ahead of World Championships

The Russian anti-doping agency Rusada last week gave a two-year suspension to Chernova, who pipped Ennis-Hill to the world heptathlon title in 2011

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The Independent Online

The coach of the Olympic heptathlon champion, Jessica Ennis-Hill, has called on anti-doping officials to investigate the ban imposed on the Briton’s rival Tatyana Chernova, with the Russian free to compete at this year’s World Championships.

The Russian anti-doping agency Rusada last week gave a two-year suspension to Chernova, who pipped Ennis-Hill to the world heptathlon title in 2011, after a sample of hers from the 2009 Worlds was retested and showed traces of an anabolic steroid.

As a result, Chernova’s results were nullified for two years from 15 August 2009 to 14 August 2011. But it means she will keep her world title from four years ago, the date of which comes just two weeks after that initial period.

The ban itself is backdated to 22 July 2013 which means that Chernova can compete at this year’s World Championships in August in Beijing.

Toni Minichiello, Ennis-Hill’s coach, insisted the current suspension was flawed because Chernova had “set a personal best with the benefit of drug use”, having scored 6,880 points to Ennis-Hill’s 6,751 at those championships in Daegu in 2011.

“Maybe it highlights that there is a gap within the anti-doping code which allows only a two-year ban from the initial test and then another ban from the date of the retest,” Minichiello, who guided his athlete to Olympic glory in 2012 while Chernova took bronze, told the BBC.

“Athletes should be banned for the whole time. Otherwise you have a ban for Chernova that really looks quite ineffective.

“It would be frustrating if she lines up on the starting line [for the World Championships] but those are the rules out there and we need to abide by them.

“That is why we think Wada [the World Anti-Doping Agency] needs to look at its code and penalties to show there is potentially a loophole that needs to be looked at.”

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