Athletics: RUSADA open investigation into widespread doping within Russia sports
By Lia Hervey, Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 12/02/15 8:53pm
A senior official in the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), has told Sky Sports News that Russia has started their own investigation into allegations of widespread and systematic doping within the Russian sport.
In November a German documentary ran claims that there was widespread and systematic doping in Russian sports and that 99% of athletes were doping.
It alleged that some sports such as swimming, skiing and weightlifting were never tested. Athletes claimed that anti-doping officials were bribed and that positive drug samples were swopped for clean samples.
Igor Zagorskiy of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency told Sky Sports News that they are taking the allegations very seriously and have undertaken their own investigation alongside that of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
“All persons mentioned or taking part in documentary are being questioned and all this information will be gathered and analysed," he said.
All persons mentioned or taking part in documentary are being questioned and all this information will be gathered and analysed.
"We have former police officers that are working in RUSADA and we have very close contact with other police and other sources to ensure that the investigation is full and is fully impartial. I am sure we will also see the results of investigation by WADA. They have an independent commission created to conduct this investigation.
"We will disclose the results of investigation but you have to understand that these things are very time consuming as lots of people are involved and we have to question all of them and analyse the results of the answers they are going to give, if they are going to give these answers.”
The German broadcaster ARD broadcast interviews in December with high profile Russian athletes including Yulia Rusanova and her husband, anti-doping official Vitaly Stepanov, who claimed to ARD that various Russian sports federations "would come to (Russian) doping control officers" offering "extra cash" to hush up positive tests.
He also accused the head of the national doping test laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, of falsifying tests and selling banned substances.
The documentary also claimed it had proof of a 450,000 euro cash transfer between Chicago and London marathon winner Lilaya Shobukhova and Papa Massata Diack, the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) marketing director and son of the IAAF President. It claimed the cash was to cover up a positive test.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the IAAF immediately opened an investigation.
Following the allegations, Dr Gabriel Dolle, the most senior anti-doping official in the IAAF resigned along with Papa Massatta Diack. Valentin Balakhnichev, the Head of Russian Athletics also resigned from his post as treasurer for the sport’s world governing body.
In January Russia’s Head Athletics Coach Valentin Maslakov, who oversaw the training of Russian team athletics since 2007 resigned from his post within the Russian team.
Last month it was announced that Five Russian race walkers, including three Olympic champions, had been handed lengthy doping bans, further focusing the spotlight on Russian sport.
Sergey Kirdyapkin, who took gold in the 50km walk at London 2012, was banned for three years and two months.
His suspension has been backdated to October 2012, meaning he will be eligible to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Olga Kaniskina, who took 20km gold in Beijing in 2008, received the same ban, while Sergey Bakulin, the 50km champion from the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, was banned for three years and two months, backdated to December 2012.
Valeriy Borchin, the 2008 Olympic 20km champion, has been banned for eight years and Vladimir Kanaykin for life - those tougher sanctions were for second and repeat offences respectively.
I think the best indicator of anti-doping work is that cheaters are being caught.
Meanwhile, Russia's two-time world open water swimming champion Vladimir Dyatchin has announced his retirement after being banned for two years for doping; Dyatchin won gold in the 10km open water swimming at the world championships in 2003 and 2007.
When asked how Russia hoped to restore faith in Russian athletes and the Russian system, Mr Zagorskiy said Russia was trying hard to have a well-respected anti-doping system that the world could have faith in.
“I think the best indicator of anti-doping work is that cheaters are being caught and we have no other way to continue this work and master this work and make sure all cheaters are caught and sophisticate cheaters are also being caught,” he said.
“We have no other choice at all and that concerns every other anti-doping organisations.”