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Kremlin to stay aside from new doping scandal in Russian athletics — spokesman

August 03, 2015, 14:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The World Anti-Doping Agency will probe fresh allegations of widespread doping in international athletics brought in the television documentary released by German broadcaster ARD on August 1
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© ITAR-TASS/Vitaliy Belousov

MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. Neither the Kremlin, nor the president of Russia will be interfering into new doping scandal involving Russian athletes, who allegedly rendered to performance enhancing drugs, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday.

"The Kremlin is the wrong place for giving any comments on the anti-doping activities," Peskov told journalists. "I doubt that we can professionally evaluate the authenticity of the information at hand and verify how reasonable and competent it is."

"This is not the issue for the president to deal with as there is the Ministry of Sports, which undoubtedly protects the interests of our athletes," Peskov added.

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.

Commenting on the new news, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Sunday that the issue of emerged materials on the alleged doping abuse by Russian athletes was an element of struggle for power at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

"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. "New elections of the [IAAF] president are coming in August and customary struggle for power is under way,"

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.

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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