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Russian sports minister calls new doping scandal ‘element of struggle for power at IAAF’

August 02, 2015, 12:48 updated at: August 02, 2015, 13:06 UTC+3
According to The Sunday Times, a third of medals in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests
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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, August 2. /TASS./. The emergence of new materials on doping in athletics is an element of struggle for power at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Sunday.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Sunday it would request its independent commission to study fresh allegations regarding widespread doping in international athletics brought in the television documentary released by German broadcaster ARD on August 1.

"The documentary alleges that ARD and The Sunday Times obtained a leaked database, belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations, which contained more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012," WADA said in a statement.

According to The Sunday Times, a third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests. The newspaper further said that none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

The newspaper also claimed that Russian athletes suspected of doping had won 80% of medals for their country in endurance competitions at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012.

"Apparently, some people want to ruin athletics by releasing such documentaries. But in any case, you can’t use the documentary to bring accusations," Mutko said.

"Someone eavesdropped something under the table and someone said something - this is all nonsense. New elections of the {IAAF] president are coming in August and customary struggle for power is under way," the Russian sports minister said.

"The second documentary is not so much a blow against Russia as a blow against the IAAF. Russian athletes are checked for doping as much as athletes from other countries," Mutko said.

"And, considering that we are leaders in many kinds of sports, these checks for us are even more frequent. Doping problems are faced by all, Russia, America and France," he added.

The elections of the IAAF president will be held in mid-August in Beijing ahead of the World Athletic Championship.

The candidates for this post are former renowned Soviet and Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergei Bubka and Sebastian Coe from the UK.

The IAAF is currently run by Lamine Diacke from Senegal who has earlier said he does not intend to participate in the new elections.

"You should not panic and you should work calmly," the Russian sports minister said.

"We are amidst such a period of life. There is no proper governance at the IAAF. It is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that should also bring things into order. Now all this looks like chaos," Mutko said.

"This scandal has no relation to Russia. It concerns the world athletic system," the sports minister said.

"But someone is trying to present the second documentary [on a doping scandal] in a way that we’re almost the main players in this system," Mutko said.

"But we have played by the common rules for all these years. It is time for someone to stop all this and move forward," the sports minister said.

Previous doping scandals with Russian athletes

Russia came into the focus of a doping scandal last 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.

The All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) was further hit by a series of high-profile doping scandals starting this year. On January 30, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency 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.

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