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Russian Ugarov Faces 4-Year Ban for Kanazawa Marathon Victory Post-ARAF Suspension

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 17 the Russian Federation (ARAF) announced that it intends to impose a suspension of up to four years on marathoner Victor Ugarov for running in and winning the Nov. 15 Kanazawa Marathon after the IAAF's provisional suspension of the ARAF.  On Nov. 13 the IAAF voted to provisionally suspend the ARAF in response to revelations of systematic doping in Russia, a move which included a ban on Russian athletes competing internationally.  As such Ugarov was ineligible to participate in the Kanazawa Marathon but nevertheless ran the Nov. 15 race, which he won in a PB of 2:17:19.  A JAAF spokesperson indicated that Ugarov's mark will now be annulled.

ARAF officials did not know of Ugarov's participation in the Kanazawa Marathon and are launching an investigation.  At the same time they pointed out that, "It is not physically possible to track and notify every single athlete.  As such, if anything the fault for his participation is that of the race organizers who allowed him to run."  Kanazawa Marathon organizers commented, "We are confirming the facts of the situation and discussing what is to be done."

Translator's note: At the time of the race Kanazawa Marathon officials were quoted as saying that there was "no problem" with Ugarov's participation since he was not a registered ARAF member.  Ugarov, one of at least two Russians to compete in the race, is from Kanazawa's sister city of Irkutsk, Russia.  No word yet on whether the Kanazawa Marathon will also face sanctions.


Brett Larner said…
The part of this that bums me out the most is that since Ugarov was there as part of a sister city relationship you just know that they let him run out of politeness, that it would have been rude to stop a guest of honor from running. Now look at the mess they're in. Undone by omotenashi. Sad.
TokyoRacer said…
Typical Japanese attitude. "Oh, here in our little corner of the world, we just do our own thing. What happens in the rest of the world doesn't affect us. Refugees? That's someone else's problem. Doping? That's someone else's problem."
Matt said…
"It is not physically possible to track and notify every single athlete."
Twitter, Facebook, email. Those would have been a good a start.
One article mentioned returning prize money and appearance fees. I didn't see anything about prize money on the Kanazawa Marathon site, and I can't imagine they would pay an appearance fee for a person coming from a sister city.
The ARAF site shows Ugarov getting 6th at the Russian National Marathon championships in May, which must mean he is a part of the ARAF. This article has that the Kanazawa Marathon organizers were told that the runners "did not belong to the ARAF." Why would the Russian contingent say that they were not members? Or was there something lost in the translation? There was a proficient Russian-Japanese translator for the interview after the race. Were the race organizers just saying what they wanted to hear?
The biggest bummer is that there was an awesome battle for 2nd-3rd between two local runners coming down to the last 300 meters or so, and the entire TV coverage of the lead was of Ugarov running alone, the announcers trying to think of things to say about him. It would have been much more entertaining and meaningful for everybody (viewers and racers) involved if the two locals had their time in the spotlight.
The results page of the Kanazawa Marathon is メンテナンス中 at the moment, probably updating the results. I think the entire Kanazawa Marathon needs some serious maintenance, not just the results section.
TokyoRacer said…
Oh, I'm pretty sure every race in Japan pays appearance money to any foreign pro athlete who runs. This is just a very Japanese thing to do.
Not only for races, but for anything. For example, a newspaper/magazine wants to interview me about my running club. I go meet the person and talk to them, not having asked for/discussed getting anything in return. As we part, they hand me an envelope with 5,000 or 10,000 yen "transportation" money. (Which cost me about 800 yen). This is so common that I would be surprised if they didn't give me anything.
So for a pro, coming from overseas to run in the race, of course they get a nice fat envelope.
Brett Larner said…
Likewise, I'd be surprised if there weren't an envelope of cash involved. Prior to Tokyo virtually no Japanese races had public prize money.
Maybe Ugarov is a pure russian amateur runner ?... ah, ah, ah !

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