AIU bans Albanian Athletics Federation President, Secretary for competition manipulation

The Athletics Intergrity Unit, AIU, has banned Albanian Athletics Federation’s President, Gjergj Ruli, for 5 years and the Federation’s General Secretary, Nikolin Dionisi, for 4 years for breaches of the World Athletics’ Integrity Code of Conduct.

The two officials have been banned for competition manipulation.

According to the AIU, the decisions against the Albanians confirm violations of the World Athletics’ Integrity Code of Conduct (the Code), between May-July 2021, relating to the submission to World Athletics of a competition result for Albanian long jumper, Izmir Smajlaj, at the Dita E Kërcimeve Competition held on 8 May 2021 in Tirana, Albania.’

Smajlaj, placed first in the Competition with a national record and personal best distance of 8.16 metres and this result contributed to him securing a universality place to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (held in summer 2021).

Ruli was Smajlaj’s coach and travelled to Tokyo with him.

The AIU had alleged that Ruli, Dionisi and Smajlaj conspired together and submitted falsified wind measurement readings relating to the Competition to
World Athletics, and when requested for proof of wind measurement equipment being used at the competition, also submitted a falsified photograph to the AIU.

The falsified photo showed Smajlaj standing at the long jump track in front of wind measuring equipment but Ruli, Dionisi and Smajlaj all ultimately admitted there was in fact no wind measuring equipment at the relevant Competition and that this photo was taken on a different day.

They could not explain the basis for the wind measurement readings that were sent to World Athletics.

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