Russia’s former world 110 metres hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov faces a four-year ban after testing positive for a banned substance, Russian media including Match TV are reporting.
Shubenkov, 30, is alleged to have given a sample containing traces of furosemide, a diuretic used for weight control that has also been associated with use as a masking agent.
The news comes as a severe blow as Russian sport is seeking to rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the world following the doping scandals that have recently caused it to be given two years’ worth of sanctions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Shubenkov has been one of the poster athletes for Russia and one of the leading competitors allowed to take part in elite events as an Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA).
Such is the importance of the case that, according to Russian website News.ru, the Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin travelled to Shubenkov’s base at Barnaul, in Siberia, to deal with the case personally.
After winning the world 110m hurdles title in Beijing in 2015, Shubenkov missed the following year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro because of sanctions against Russia, but emerged as one of the athletes deemed to have shown themselves clean and competed with great success as an ANA.
He won world silver medals at both London 2017 and Doha 2019.
He also took silver at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, having won European titles in 2012 and 2014.
Shubenkov has been one of the few Russian athletes allowed to compete internationally since the ban introduced in 2015 by the sport’s world governing body, now known as World Athletics.