Documentary Alleges Russia Of Athletics Doping

A documentary screened on the German TV network MDR has alleged that up to 99 percent of the Russian Olympic team use doping products. The German television also alleged that the northern Eurasia country is funding a comprehensive “East German-style” doping program for athletes at national and international levels.

ARD also revealed that the reigning Olympic 800-meter champion Mariya Savinova admitted to using Oxandrolone (Anavar), the banned steroid. The ARD documentary linked widespread doping in the country to Russian officials and athletes in other sports, including swimming, cycling, biathlon, cross-country skiing, and weightlifting. It was also reported that Yulia Rusanova, who previously competed as an 800-meter runner, accused coaches of providing her with banned substances. Her husband, former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov, said Russian sports federations would come to the Russian doping control officers offering “extra cash” for hushing up positive tests.

In another development, French sports daily L’Equipe reported that a bribe of 450,000 euros ($550,000) was paid by Liliya Shobukhova, who won the Chicago Marathon from 2009-11 and the London race in 2010, to cover up a positive doping case.

Andrei Baranov, the agent for three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova, disclosed before the ethics commission of IAAD that Liliya paid more than $600,000 to avoid a doping suspension. L’Equipe reported that Shobukhova was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she violated doping rules in 2011 after she paid the money in January, June and July, 2012 as three installments. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has now gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport asking for a four-year suspension on Shobukhova. In a statement, the world governing body of athletics said it understands that there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.

ARD claims it has evidence linking the President of the Russian Association of Athletics Federations, Valentin Balakhnichev, who also serves as the treasurer for the IAAF, in the Shobukhova case. Russian Athletics Federation coach Alexey Melnikov and leading sports physician Sergey Portugalov were also implicated in the cover-up of drug positives and the drug procurement system. ARD also claims that it has footage of Vladimir Kazarin, Vladimir Kazarin, discussing how he gave Oxandrolone tablets to another athlete. It also alleged that Russia assisted its athletes to avoid drug testing while training abroad and that Russian athletes would use fake names when they check into a hotel to avoid testing.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said these are serious allegations and he understands an investigation is already under way by the IAAF ethics commission and we await the full findings. World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman remarked the allegations are shocking and it will ensure that all matters raised are fully investigated. The World Anti-Doping Agency has already forwarded evidence of the type exposed in the documentary to the IAAF ethics panel. WADA powers allow it to declare the northern Eurasia country non-compliant and withdraw accreditation of the Moscow lab to work in sports.

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