Russia's world-beating walkers return from doping bans

MOSCOW (AP) Some of Russia's Olympic and world champion race-walkers have returned to action after serving doping bans in cases that could prove a sticking-point in talks over lifting Russia's ban from global track and field.

In recent years, there have been more than 30 doping cases among elite Russian race-walkers, including the biggest names on the world-beating national team.

Among at least three top walkers who returned to competition Saturday in Sochi at the Russian winter championships after serving doping bans were Sergei Kirdyapkin, the reigning Olympic champion over 50 kilometers, and Olga Kaniskina, the 2008 Olympic women's champion.

Kaniskina's return was a sign that Russia could win medals in walking if readmitted for the Olympics. She won her 20k race in 1 hour 25 minutes 54 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.