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Russian anti-doping agency executive sues ex-employee, several sports media outlets

April 30, 2015, 16:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The ex-employee said that almost all Russian track and field athletes used performance-enhancing drugs and the Sports Ministry as well as RUSADA had been backing them up
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© EPA/TASS/HENDRIK SCHMIDT

MOSCOW, April 30. /TASS/. Nikita Kamayev, the executive director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), submitted a lawsuit with a Moscow court on Thursday against agency’s former employee Vitaly Stepanov and a number of Russian sports media outlets.

Stepanov, who worked for RUSADA between 2008 and 2011, said in an interview with some Russian media outlets last month that almost all Russian track and field athletes used performance-enhancing drugs and the Sports Ministry as well as RUSADA had been backing them up.

In its statement on Thursday RUSADA said that the lawsuit concerns the protection of Kamayev’s honor and dignity as well as his business reputation, which were abused by Stepanov and sports media outlets that published an interview with him.

"RUSADA believes that the information provided in the interview shapes up a negative image of Nikita Kamayev and RUSADA on the whole and also discredits the business reputation of the executive director, who is a conscientious manager of the national anti-doping agency," RUSADA said in its statement.

The interview at the issue was published by journalists Natalia Maryanchik from the Sovetsky Sport daily and Yevgeny Slyusarenko from the Championat.com sports news web portal and it came as a follow-up to a German documentary broadcast last year.

Slyusarenko told TASS that he had been informed of the lawsuit and was waiting for the relevant documents from RUSADA.

"There is no sense commenting on RUSADA’s posted statement before we receive papers from RUSADA and consult with our lawyers," Slyusarenko said.

There were no comments immediately available from Sovetsky Sport daily’s journalist Maryanchik.

Russia fell in the focus of a doping scandal in early December, when German television aired a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports. The ARD’s two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

Stepanov and his wife, Russian runner Yulia Stepanova, were among other sports officials in the film making allegations on the issue. Accusations were also voiced in the documentaries by former coach of the Russian national team Oleg Popov as well as athletes Yevgeniya Pecherina and Valentin Kruglyakov, who were both earlier suspended over doping abuse.

Last month the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) submitted several lawsuits with courts in Samara and the Urals city of Chelyabinsk also against Stepanov and the ARD TV-channel claiming that the honor and dignity as well as business reputation of the federation had been abused.

The ARAF was recently hit by a series of high-profile doping scandals. On January 30, the RUSADA suspended country’s titled athletes Tatiana Chernova and Yulia Zaripova over doping abuse.

Runner Zaripova, a 2011 world athletics champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was disqualified for two years and six months from July 25, 2013. Chernova, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 world champion, was disqualified for two years from July 22, 2013.

RUSADA also announced in January that Olympic Champions in race walk Valery Borchin, Sergey Kirdyapkin and Olga Kaniskina as well as Russia’s 2011 World Champion Sergey Bakulin and 2011 World Championship silver medalist Vladimir Kanaikin were suspended after they were found guilty of violating anti-doping regulations.

Their suspensions were based on irregularities in their biological passports, which were indicators to abuse of performance enhancing drugs.

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