IAAF orders probe of alleged doping of Russian athletes

IAAF orders probe of alleged doping of Russian athletes

Thursday, December 4, 2014 6:49 pm

Svetlana Krivelyova of Russia, a shot put competitor once stripped of medals for drugs

Svetlana Krivelyova of Russia, a shot put competitor once stripped of medals for drugs

The world athletics governing body IAAF has referred allegations made about systematic doping in Russian sport to an independent ethics committee, the organisation said on Thursday.

On Wednesday the German state broadcaster ARD ran a documentary, ‘Top secret doping – how Russia makes its winners’.

This included secretly filmed meetings as well as statements from two whistleblowers – a former employee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Vitaliy Stepanov, and his wife, Yuliya Stepanova, a middle distance runner currently banned over substance abuse.

ARD alleged Russian sport is plagued by systematic doping, covering up of tests and corruption.

“You can’t reach your goals without doping. You must dope, that’s how it works in Russia … You need aid in order to get medals. And doping is this aid, forbidden substances,’’ Yuliya Stepanov told ARD.

“The IAAF has noted a number of grave allegations regarding doping activities related to the sport of athletics in Russia, which have been broadcast on the German TV channel ZDF/ARD on Dec. 3, 2014,’’ the world body said in a statement.

“An investigation by the IAAF ethics commission is already ongoing with respect to some of the allegations made in the documentary.

“We would like to underline that the IAAF ethics commission is completely independent of the IAAF and has full powers to investigate and issue sanctions when relevant.

“A transcript in English of the German TV documentary has been forwarded to the ethics commission.’’

International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams said the programme brought up “serious allegations’’ and that the IOC ethics committee was carrying out its own investigation.

“Should there be something that affects the Olympic committee our code of ethics, we will not hesitate to carry out the necessary measures,’’ Adams said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it had seen the documentary and it would “ensure all matters raised are fully investigated.’’

“WADA has in fact already received some information and evidence of the type exposed in the documentary,’’ it said in a statement.

“All of that information has been passed to the appropriate independent body within the international federation, the IAAF. We will await the outcome of that independent body’s deliberations.’’

During the programme Mariya Savinova, women’s 800 metre gold medalist at London 2012, is seen in a mobile phone video clip saying: “How else are we meant to do it? That’s our system, and in Russia it only works with pharma.’’

Savinova then gave details of how she could cooperate with her coach to beat the system while former discus thrower Evgenia Pecherina claimed 99 per cent of the Russian Olympic team were doping.

And former marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova, a winner of the London and Chicago marathons, is shown saying she had to pay 450,000 dollars to officials in the Russian federation to bribe her way into the 2012 Olympic Games in spite of abnormal blood tests 2009-2011.

ARD quoted WADA general director David Howman as saying the allegations it has raised were “terribly shocking.’’

But Nikita Kamaev, director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSDA), refuted the allegations during the documentary: “Allegations that Rusada swapped samples or accepted bribes do not correspond to reality at all.

“All athletes who make such claims have infringed with doping regulations in the past. Such people then contact journalists and tell stories. For professionals, such stories are only laughable.’’

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