LONDON (Reuters) - Australian race walker Jared Tallent has accused Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) of “cherry-picking” ban dates to allow Olympic champion Sergey Kirdyapkin to keep his gold medal and defend the title in 2016.
Tallent took silver in the 50km walk at the London 2012 Games behind Kirdyapkin, who was among five Russian athletes to receive a doping from RUSADA on Tuesday.
Kirdyapkin was handed a three-year, two-month suspension backdated to October 2012 and had his results annulled for three separate periods between 2009 and June 2012, meaning he can keep the gold he won in London a few months later.
The ban will expire in time for the 35-year-old to defend his title at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Tallent believes the punishments meted out were insufficient.
“I‘m totally shocked the way the bans have come and results annulled,” Tallent told AAP on Wednesday.
”It’s like they’ve just cherry-picked certain periods of time. I can’t understand how... he (Kirdyapkin) gets to keep his Olympic gold and then he’s given a three-year, two-month ban so he can return for Rio. That’s just outrageous.
“It’s like the Russians are laughing at the rest of the world, saying they can do whatever they want. It’s just crazy.”
Athletics’ world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said on Wednesday that the number of Russian doping cases was a major concern.
The IAAF added it was investigating doping allegations in Russian athletics with support from the World Anti-Doping Agency following the bans handed out to the five walkers on Tuesday.
“As a result of these cases, major international titles will be redistributed, but not until the IAAF has received, and carefully analyzed, the full reasoned decision from ARAF (the Russian federation) to ensure they are in strict compliance with IAAF Rules,” the IAAF said in a statement.
Tallent could be awarded a World Cup gold medal from May 2012, when he also finished second to Kirdyapkin.
But the Australian said the RUSADA doping suspension decision was still a “kick in the teeth”.
“It definitely makes me angry,” the three-time Olympic medalist said. “It’s affected my motivation a bit over the last year. Now I‘m quite angry, especially after today. Hopefully that’ll continue on until 2016 so I can right the wrongs.”
Reporting By Sam Holden; Editing by Ken Ferris