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Russian athletes suspected of doping to be barred from IAAF Championship — official

August 17, 2015, 14:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The German TV Channel ARD aired on Sunday a new portion of its documentary on doping in international athletics
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MOSCOW, August 17. /TASS/. Russian athletes "really suspected" of doping will not take part in the IAAF World Championships opening in Beijing on August 22, Secretary General of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) Sergei Butov said on Monday.

The German TV Channel ARD aired on Sunday a new portion of its documentary on doping in international athletics, claiming the IAAF expected the ARAF to provide explanations over the suspected breach of anti-doping rules by Russian athletes.

The German TV Channel’s documentary further claimed that suspected Russian coaches and athletes would be barred from participation in the World Athletics Championship, if the ARAF failed to respond to the IAAF’s inquiry.

The documentary claimed, in particular, that a four-year suspension could be used against Russian runner Anastasia Bazdyreva who was included in the list of the national team’s athletes for participation in the IAAF World Championships opening in Beijing.

"Not a single Russian athlete who is really suspected of using banned substances will take part in the World Championship," Butov said.

‘Let me note that we’re not based on reports by the press, which write a lot of things. We verify everything thoroughly and are based exclusively on the rules of the international federation and nothing else. I don’t see any grounds for taking any additional measures over the German TV channel’s information, regardless of what this information is," he said.

When asked about whether the ARAF had received any inquiry from the IAAF on information mentioned in ARD’s documentary, the Russian athletics official said: "I have no idea what kind of an inquiry is meant. The ARAF and the IAAF maintain internal correspondence and there are a lot of various letters. But I don’t understand what an inquiry we can talk about."

The information spread by the German TV Channel will not affect the composition of the Russian national athletics team at the forthcoming IAAF World Championship, he said.

Russia’s athletics federation receives no IAAF inquiries for information aired by German media

The All-Russian Athletics Federation has received no official inquiries from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) demanding explanations by late next week for the suspected breach of anti-doping rules by Russian athletes, ARAF Acting President Vadim Zelenchyonok said on Monday.

"We have not received any official letters or inquiries from the IAAF on this issue," Zelenchyonok said.

"It is simply ludicrous that [Tatiana] Tomashova is mentioned in German media reports. She would have been automatically left outside the list of the national team’s athletes for participation in the Championship, if there had been any questions to her," he added.

Media reports earlier said the IAAF might use sanctions against Russian female runner and 2005 world champion in the 1500 meter competition Tatyana Tomashova who was also included in the list of the national team’s athletes for participation in the 2015 World Athletics Championship.

Russian athletics Head Coach Yuri Borzakovsky "has also spoken on this issue but they [the media] continued repeating Tomashova’s name. Naturally, not a single athlete suspended from competitions for the period of a probe can take part in the Championship even before a decision is passed. Tomashova is on the national team’s list, which means that there are no questions to her," the ARAF acting president said.

The German television channel ARD aired a documentary on August 1, "Doping - Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics," which alleged that ARD and The Sunday Times had 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.

ARD further alleged that 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 but none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

The Sunday Times also alleged that Russian athletes suspected of doping abuse had won 80% of medals for their country at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) denied the new accusations saying it would comment on the situation after the Independent Commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) completes its investigation.

"We are officially stating that the information voiced in regard to RUSADA either does not correspond to reality or speaks for the incompetence of the documentary’s authors," the Russian agency said in its statement.

"Within the frames of an investigation, launched by RUSADA in December 2014, new information regarding Russian athletes will be thoroughly studied and the results of this investigation will be reported with the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency," the statement said. "The final commentaries will be made after the independent commission of WADA completes its work."

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 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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