MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Russian coach Sergey Epishin told TASS on Monday he planned to file a lawsuit against Andrey Dmitriev, a track and field athlete in the center of a recent German documentary on doping abuse in sports, in case of an insult regarding the coach’s honor and dignity.
Germany’s ARD TV channel broadcast on Sunday an interview of Dmitriev with Hajo Seppelt, a journalist known for reports on high-profile doping scandals in Russian athletics. The Russian athlete claimed in particular that Epishin resorted to doping-based practices during his work and his athletes’ high results rested on the abuse of banned performance enhancing substances.
"Firstly, I will have to wait for the exact translation of what was said in the documentary," Epishin said in an interview with TASS. "If then I see that my honor and dignity suffered an insult, I will be seeking legal protection and will go to court against Dmitriev."
ARD and Seppelt’s series of Russian doping-abuse documentaries
The ARD’s first two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), was released in December of 2014 and claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.
On August 1, 2015, ARD released another documentary "Doping - Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics." The film claimed that ARD and British newspaper 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.
On March 6, Seppelt premiered the third part of his documentaries, entitled "Doping Top Secret: Russia's Red Herrings." In that episode he claimed that the Russian athletics authorities were not taking sufficient steps to clean the sports from doping.
The fourth and the latest part of the German journalist’s documentaries on the allegedly widespread doping abuse in Russia was broadcast in June 8 and was titled "Doping Secret: Showdown for Russia."
The series of German documentaries prompted a reaction from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which ruled in early 2015 to set up an independent body to investigate the issue.