— Published 23 June 2021

Shubenkov cleared but not selected yet

Sergey Shubenkov

It’s about time. With one month to go before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games and just over five weeks to go before the start of athletics events, Russia’s Sergei Shubenkov can dream of a trip to Japan. On Tuesday, June 22nd, he was cleared by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). Men’s 110m hurdles World champion in 2015, he had tested positive for acetazolamide, a diuretic considered to be a masking agent, in December 2020. But the AIU chose not to impose any sanction, even provisional, preferring to open an investigation before presenting the elements to the World Athletics Disciplinary Committee. Obviously, the Russian’s explanations were convincing. “My three-month-old son was prescribed a drug from the list of products banned by WADA,” pleaded Sergei Shubenkov. “A child of that age cannot swallow, so we had to prepare the pills in a certain way. This left tiny traces of the treatment powder in my kitchen, which led to the positive test. The Russian can therefore consider a participation in the Tokyo Games, but he will have to be chosen among the 10 athletes, and not one more, selected by the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) to be part of the delegation presented to the Tokyo Games by the National Olympic Committee. However, to date, he is not on the World Athletics list of Russian athletes allowed to compete under a neutral banner in international competitions.