CAS OG 20/12 Nazar Kovalenko v. World Athletics & Athletics Integrity Unit
Mr Nazar Kovalenko is a Ukrainian athlete competing in the 20 km race walk discipline. He served a 3 year period of ineligibility, resumed his sporting activitity in March 2020 and started his preparatons for the qualifications for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Previously the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics (WA) had placed the Ukrainian Athletic Federation (UAF) into the category A with the highest risk of doping. Consequently their national team athletes had to undergo at least 3 out-of-competition doping tests in the 10 months before a World Championship or Olympic Games.
This case is about the question of whether the Athlete is eligible to participate as an athlete in the 20 km Race Walk at Tokyo 2020, although it is undisputed that the Athlete failed to meet the Mandatory Testing Requirements which are issued for all athletes belonging to Category A Federations under the WA AD Rule 15.5.1 c.
In this matter the Panel believes that three main questions are presented before it:
- Whether the ineligibility of the Athlete decided by the AIU for the failure to comply with AR Rule 15 is an unenforceable sanction;
- Whether the Athlete has, in practice, complied with the testing requirements and therefore his ineligibility would be a disproportionate, unfair and illegal measure taken against him;
- Whether the Athlete has demonstrated exceptional circumstances that would allow an exemption to the strict application of AD Rule 15.
The Panel finds that the AIU decision is not a sanction and that the imposition of ineligibility is not disproportionate for the failure of a Category A Member Federation to perform sufficient regular anti-doping tests. Further the Panel deems that there are no grounds to conclude that there are exceptional circumstances to allow an exemption.
Therefore on 3 August 2021 the CAS AD Hoc Division decides:
1. The application filed by Mr. Nazar Kovalenko on 1 August 2021 is rejected.
2. The Parties bear their own costs.