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BEIJING, August 27. /TASS/. The Russian national athletic team’s weak performance at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing can be largely explained by strong psychological pressure experienced by athletes over recent doping scandals, the national team’s Head Coach Yuri Borzakovsky told TASS on Thursday.
After the first five days of the World Athletic Championship, the Russian national team has won only one silver medal in the 400 meter hurdles.
"The atmosphere in the team is uneasy," Borzakovsky said. "This championship is not coming easy for us. First of all, this is related to the fact that we’re feeling strong psychological pressure. This pressure is felt precisely by Russia and no one else. This, of course, cannot justify our failures but, on the other hand, all these doping scandals could not but have their impact on psychological resistance," Borzakovsky said.
The head coach’s statement comes amid fresh allegations of doping in international athletics, including Russian athletes.
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.
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.