Belarus track federation president defends his position
MOSCOW (AP) Former Olympic hammer thrower Vadim Devyatovsky of Belarus is ready to again defend himself against doping charges at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Vadim Devyatovsky, who won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has been serving as president of the Belarus athletics federation for the last six months. But he also has been under investigation for the last two years after a retest of his sample from the 2005 world championships came back positive.
The IAAF says Devyatovsky remains suspended until the case is resolved. That bars him from any involvement in athletics, whether as a competitor, coach or official.
If found guilty, he would face a lifetime ban from the sport. He also tested positive at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and served a two-year ban.
''We have an on-going process with him and we were not impressed to see he had been elected as president of the federation,'' IAAF spokesman Nick Davies recently told The Associated Press.
Devyatovsky, however, said he does not consider the suspension to be valid and disputes the international federation's jurisdiction, telling the AP on Monday that he believes his ban was lifted by the Belarusian athletics federation.
Davies said the case will now be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
Devyatovsky has won an appeal to CAS previously. He tested positive for testosterone at the 2008 Olympics and was stripped of his silver medal, but was reinstated by CAS in 2010 because the test was considered to be invalid.
Devyatovsky defended his appointment as president, saying the Belarusian federation had told the IAAF of the move last year and there was no protest.
''A decision was taken so there's no suspension as such ... The international federation was notified,'' Devyatovsky said. ''No one, basically, reacted to that decision.''
Belarus has won at least one gold medal in athletics at each of the last four Olympics and is among the world's strongest nations in throwing events. However, the ex-Soviet nation's success has often been accompanied by scandal.
The country's only gold medal winner in athletics at the 2012 London Olympics, Nadzeya Ostapchuk, was stripped of her shot put title after testing positive for the banned substance metenolone.
Devyatovsky said he is taking an active part in preparing the team for this year's world championships in Beijing and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Devyatovsky was one of six athletes suspended in 2013 when samples they had given at the 2005 worlds were retested and found to be positive. The others have since been banned from the sport, including two of his teammates, shot putter Andrei Mikhnevich and hammer thrower Ivan Tsikhan.
Tsikhan's ban has temporarily elevated Devyatovsky into first place for the hammer throw at the 2005 worlds.