Authorities hit disgraced ski coaches' accomplice with temporary ban
The Estonian Anti-Doping Foundation (SA Eesti Antidoping)/Anti-Doping and Sports Ethics Foundation (Eesti Antidopingu ja Spordieetika Sihtasutus) has hit ski coach Aivar Rehemaa with a temporary ban after a ski team he was leading had been working with Mati Alaver, in contravention of the latter's own four-year ban, ERR's sports portal reports.
The authorities based their decision on violations of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code section 2.10, based on evidence presented by the national ski association (ESL) and which appeared in the media.
The charge says that Rehemaa, in cooperation with Alaver, obtained an invite from Finland's ski body for himself and seven other skiers from the AR Pro Team to take part in a world cup stage in Ruka, Finland, in late November, preceded by a training camp due to start Wednesday and run through to the first day of the compeition on November 25.
As reported on ERR News, the authority had said earlier on Tuesday it would be initiating proceedings after the Rehemaa-Alaver collaboration came to light.
The anti-doping authorities pointed ot the one-year suspended sentence and one-and-a-half-year probation period handed to Alaver by Harju County Court nearly a year ago, after being found guilty of engaging in illicit blood doping.
Furthermore, Alaver's four year ski coaching ban imposed by international ski body the FIS, to run from August 2019 to August 2023, meant that Rehemaa was acting in contravention of the rules in working with Alaver in a skiing context.
Article 2.10 of the anti-doping regulations prevents athletes from working with banned persons; violating this article can itself lead to a one- to two-year ban.
Rehemaa's ban runs from Tuesday, November 3 and applies to all FIS, ESL and other WADA-compliant organizations' competitions, but may be amended pending an explanation.
Rehemaa is also expected to provide a written explanation of his actions by no later than Friday, November 13, ERR's sports portal reports.
One of the skiers due to take part in the training camp and competition, Martin Himma, has already pulled out, saying he does not want to be involved in the scandal.
Estonian national team skiers Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu were detained after a police raid during the world championships at Seefeld, Austria, in February 2019. The pair, along with another Estonian skier, Algo Kärp, later admitted to engaging in blood doping, which was subsequently determined to have been orchestrated by Alaver, in conjunction with notorious German "doping doctor" Mark Schmidt.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte