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Long Jumper Izmir Smajlaj Accused of Using False Information to Get Olympics Spot

Adam WellsDecember 9, 2022

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 31: Izmir Smajlaj of Team Albania competes in the Men's Long Jump Qualification on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Albanian long jumper Izmir Smajlaj is facing a ban from competition after being accused of submitting false information to help secure a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

Per the Associated Press, the Athletics Integrity Unit said Friday that Smajlaj, along with Albanian track federation president Gjergj Ruli and general secretary Nikolin Dionisi, has been charged with disciplinary offenses stemming from a competition held in the country in May 2021.

"It is alleged that false information was submitted to World Athletics and the AIU in support of this competition result," the AIU said.

According to the AP, Smajlaj won the competition with a jump of 8.16 meters, a national record in Albania.

Smajlaj didn't qualify for the Olympics based on the result, but was given the opportunity to persuade officials through the "universality" rule that allows countries to send one male and one female athlete to Olympic track events.

"Those athletes still have to apply with evidence of their 'technical level' and experience of international events to persuade officials to grant them a place," per the AP.

Smajlaj failed to qualify for the final with a jump of 7.86 meters in Tokyo.

Friday's announcement from the AIU comes after the organization published its competition manipulation watch list in September. Albania, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia were the seven countries on the list after being cited for reports of suspicious competition results during the Olympic qualifying period.

Smajlaj, Ruli and Dionisi have all been provisionally suspended until the case is resolved.

The 29-year-old Smajlaj finished tied for 17th in qualifying at the Tokyo Games. He previously won the long-jump competition at the European Indoor Championships in 2017.

Albania had a total of nine athletes compete at the 2020 Olympics in athletics, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, weightlifting and judo.