IOC asks Senegal to cooperate in Diack investigation

IOC president Thomas Bach has asked Senegal to cooperate in the ingoing corruption investiation in athletics. — AFP

PARIS — IOC president Thomas Bach has formally requested Senegal cooperates with French judicial authorities investigating corruption at the heart of international athletics, sources have told AFP.

Investigators are particularly keen that Papa Massa Diack, son of the former IAAF president Lamine Diack and himself a powerful marketing advisor to the federation, should answer questions.

In a letter seen by AFP sent to the Senegalese President Macky Sall on Nov. 16, Bach said that investigating magistrate, Renaud van Ruymbeke, "told us of the difficulties he has come up against in the execution of the two investigation letters addressed to the Minister of Justice of Senegal".

"The commitment of your government (...) would be particularly appreciated," added Bach, who asked that action be taken as quickly as possible.

Papa Massa Diack — known as PMD — is suspected of having received several million euros of bribes, either for sponsorship contracts or to favor the Rio and Tokyo nominations for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

PMD has been on Interpol's most wanted list since December 2015 but is sheltering in Dakar as the Senegalese government refuses to extradite him to France.

"This total ongoing absence of cooperation from Senegal is hindering the smooth conduct of the investigation," van Ruymbeke told Bach. Van Ruymbeke said that his request for PMD's bank records was a "dead letter".

The Senegalese judiciary previously conducted its own investigation and said it would not extradite one of its nationals.

Lamine Diack, who is forbidden to leave France, was head of the governing body of global athletics from 1999 until his arrest in France in 2015.

He was charged at the time with taking millions of dollars to cover up failed Russian doping tests along with two other IAAF officials. In June he was also charged with favouring his son in negotiations over sponsorship and TV rights. In October Senegal was awarded the 2022 Youth Olympics.

Canadian lifter Girard

gets gold medal at last

It took more than six years hut Christine Girard was finally awarded her 2012 London Games weightlifting gold medal on Monday to become Canada's first Olympic champion in the sport. At a ceremony held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Girard, who has now retired but competed in the 63kg class, also received a bronze from the 2008 Beijing Games, making her the first Canadian to win two Olympic medals in weightlifting, Reuters reported.

Girard was initially awarded bronze at the 2012 Olympics but, after the retesting of more than 1,500 urine samples from the Beijing and London Games the samples from two athletes who placed ahead of her, Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan and Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia, were found positive for doping. They were disqualified and Girard, now 33, was confirmed as the London 2012 Olympic champion in April 2018.

In late 2016, Girard was awarded the Beijing Olympic bronze after Irina Nekrassova of Kazakhstan was stripped of her silver for testing positive for banned substances. "I want to celebrate this moment with all Canadians as it is a victory of our values," Girard said in a statement. "I want people to understand that regardless of your gender or sport, with hard work, determination and a little bit of patience, your dreams are within reach."

Girard joins Dylan Armstrong (athletics, Beijing 2008) and Beckie Scott (cross-country skiing, Salt Lake City 2002) as Canadian Olympians to receive medal reallocations due to doping violations by other competitors.

"We are thrilled that the day has now arrived where Christine will be properly recognized and celebrated for her historic achievements at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games," said Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith.

"Christine has shown incredible strength and perseverance throughout her long career, always competing with integrity and grace. We are so pleased to see her receive the Olympic medals which she has so rightfully earned." — Agencies