The ruling athletics body IAAF on Wednesday named the number of Russian doping cases in the sport “a major concern” as it confirmed that the latest five offenders were all caught through its biological passport programme (ABP).wpid-IAAF-.jpg

The IAAF said in a statement that 23 Russian athletes were among the 37 sanctioned overall in connection with the ABP since its introduction in 2009.

The IAAF said “as a result of these cases, major international titles will be redistributed” once the Russian athletics body ARAF has confirmed the rulings.

The Russian anti-doping agency Rusada said Tuesday that it has imposed long bans on five race walkers, including three Olympic gold medallists.

Valery Borchin, Olympic gold medallist in 2008, has been suspended for eight years. Vladimir Kanaykin, a former junior and youth champion, was banned for life for a repeat offence. Olga Kaniskina (2008 20km gold), Sergei Kirdyapkin (2012 50km gold) and Sergei Bakulin (2011 world champion) have banned for three years and two months. All five have been suspended from late 2012.

“The number of Russian doping cases in athletics generally, and in race walking specifically, is a major concern for the IAAF and we are fully investigating recent doping allegations in Russian athletics, with WADA’s support.”

The statement referred to a documentary by German state broadcasters ARD in December which alleged Russian sport is plagued by systematic doping, covering up of tests and corruption – and prompted a probe by the IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The IAAF is also investigating allegations that women’s 2012 Olympic champion Elena Lashmanova took part in a competition last month in Russia despite being suspended.

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