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Albanian long jumper accused of using false information to qualify for the Olympics


An Albanian long jumper and two officials from the Albanian Athletics Federation could face bans after an investigation found false information may have been used to help the long jumper achieve the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which is the “independent body set up by World Athletics that manages all integrity matters,” charged Albanian long jumper Izmir Smajlaj and the Federation’s President and Secretary General, provisionally suspending all three until the end of the investigation. .

Albania’s Izmir Smajlaj competes in the men’s long jump final during day 2 of the 2018 European Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin.
(Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The accusations stem from a competition held in Albania in May 2021, in which Smajlaj won with a jump of 8.16 meters.

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The distance of Smajlaj does not qualify for the olympicsbut due to the “universality” rule, Smajlaj went to Tokyo.

The rule allows countries to send either a man or a woman to Olympic track events, according to The Associated Press. Athletes still need to prove their “technical level” in sports to earn a spot.

Izmir Smajlaj of Albania competes in the men's long jump qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021.

Izmir Smajlaj of Albania competes in the men’s long jump qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021.
(JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

“AIU’s mandate is to ensure fair and fair competition, and to hold accountable for their actions anyone who has breached the Integrity Code of Conduct, including high-ranking officials,” said AIU Director Brett Clothier.

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“Competition manipulation is a serious threat to the integrity of athletics and the AIU is committed to protecting our sport from it.”

At the olympic games. Smajlaj jumped 7.86 meters and did not qualify for the final.

Izmir Smajlaj of team Albania competes in the men's long jump qualification on Day 8 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021.

Izmir Smajlaj of team Albania competes in the men’s long jump qualification on Day 8 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021.
(Patricio Smith/Getty Images)

In September, Albania was one of seven countries included on the AIU’s competition manipulation watch list.

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“The integrity of our sport is our highest priority at World Athletics,” World Athletics chairman Lord Coe was quoted as saying by the BBC. “Without that, we don’t have a sport.

“Maintaining integrity requires undying vigilance and this is a timely reminder that all of our member associations must be equally committed to upholding the principles of fair competition.”



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