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Sunday 03, Jul 2016

  Russia To Tighten Responsibility For Doping Violations

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has remarked the country will tighten the responsibility for doping abuse by athletes. Putin added law enforcers will be empowered to investigate such cases and also commented that the responsibility must be tightened.

Putin remarked he had discussed the issue with the government and said we have made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation: to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances. The Russian President said he also hopes a future State Duma would support the amendments.

Putin said the country is thankful to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) commenting on the situation around accusations of doping abuse by Russian athletes. The Russian head of the state promised to study information provided by WADA on doping among Russian athletes attentively. Putin said we should be thankful to our counterparts from the World Anti-Doping Agency and should treat the information they have provided in a most serious way. The President added Russia has always fought against doping at state level and will continue doing it. Putin also commented we hope the information we will be receiving ourselves or will be getting otherwise will be unbiased and said this is the sphere where conclusions should not be made on the basis of rumors or simply suspicions.

Putin stressed it is inadmissible to rely on the words of people who say it was them to commit violations and spread doping. He added it is them who are violators and who are responsible for this situation. Putin went on to say that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee is looking into the accusations presently.

Allegations against Russian athletes started to emerge in November when the country’s athletics and anti-doping bodies were accused by WADA of massively breaching anti-doping rules. Last November, the track and field team of Russia was suspended after doping allegations. The decision of the world governing body of athletics to suspend Russia’s track and field team was upheld by the International Olympic Committee that meant Russia track team was banned from this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

The IAAF later took a soft stance on clean Russian athletes and said they can submit individual applications to compete in tournaments. The IAAF said on its official website a rule amendment was also passed which means that if there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko wrote an open letter to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) head Sebastian Coe in which he remarked the athletes of Russia must not be singled out as the only ones to be punished for a problem that is widely acknowledged to go far beyond our country’s borders. Mutko added Russian sport is healthy and clean, and not like it is shown abroad.

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Sunday 22, Nov 2015

  Athletes Involved In Doping Scandal To Sue Whistleblowers

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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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