Russian athletes who were named in the recent doping scandal will soon file a lawsuit against Yulia Stepanova who accused them of doping in a film aired by German television. Alexander Karabanov, lawyer for the athletes, said he thinks we will be able to prepare materials within two weeks and file a lawsuit to a Russian court.

In December 2014, Germany’s TV Channel ARD aired a documentary on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports. The two-part documentary by ARD entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case) claimed that athletes from Russia systematically took banned performance enhancing drugs on instructions from their coaches. The two primary interviewees in the documentary were Russia’s track and field athlete Stepanova and her husband Vitaly who was a former employee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency RUSADA. Vitaly accused the Russian athletics federation of involvement in spreading doping among athletes.

The World Anti-Doping Agency delivered a report by its independent commission into doping abuse allegations involving Russian athletes. The report recommended that all athletes of the All-Russia Athletics Federation should be suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from international competitions. After this, the IAAF council voted 22-1 to suspend the federation that could prevent track and field athletes from Russia from taking part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year.

Last week, WADA recommended life bans for five athletes including 1500m runner Kristina Ugarova and 800m runner Tatyana Myazina. However, Ugarova described the claims as “slanderous” and Myazina remarked she did not take any banned substances. Both athletes are now suing for defamation in Russia over doping claims.

WADA also found five other countries to be in breach of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s codes. Russia, Argentina, Ukraine, Bolivia, Andorra, and Israel were the six countries to be deemed “non-compliant” by the World Anti-Doping Agency. WADA also placed Brazil, Belgium, France, Greece, Mexico, and Spain on a ‘watch list’ and these countries have been told to meet strict conditions by March 2016 or face similar action. The World Anti-Doping Agency has also ordered Kenya to explain its doping controls or join the list of countries facing scrutiny. Presently, there are 15 Kenyans banned for doping by the world governing body of athletics.

Meanwhile, a big majority of clean athletes have come out in open and remarked that doping is “not good for the sport” of track and field. U.S. track and field athlete Alysia Montaño said doping making athletics a dirty place to be.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, remarked athletics is “at a crossroads”. Tygart described the current investigation is the biggest since the World Anti-Doping Agency was formed in 1999 by remarking he does not think we have seen something on this scale since WADA took over. Tygart added it far eclipses anything we have seen from corruption and impacts on the rights of clean athletes and also went on to say that the world anti-doping community has to step up for them and support their decision to do it the right way or we might as well walk away and throw in the towel and quit the charade.

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