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MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS/. Russian athletes stripped of their Olympic medals by the International Olympic Committee (OIC) over the violation of anti-doping rules, are reluctant to return them, Anti-Doping Coordinator of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) Yelena Ikonnikova told TASS.
On Friday, Russian runner Tatyana Firova said that she was not going to hand back the silver medals she had won in the 4x400-meter relay at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, revoked over doping abuse.
"We sent messages to the athletes and regional sports federations saying that it was important to return the medals in accordance with the IOC Disciplinary Commission’s decision," Ikonnikova said. "We have been calling on them to take this step, because that will help improve the situation surrounding athletics in Russia, but nothing has changed," she added.
"We have been trying to do something within our capability, but unfortunately, the process has been stalled," the ARAF anti-doping coordinator said.
More than ten Russian athletes have been ordered to return their Olympic medals, but only three of them, members of relay teams who actually were not found guilty of breaching anti-doping rules, have agreed to do so. "Some promise to return their medals but they disappear, some say they are considering the possibility, while others refuse to answer our calls and messages," Ikonnikova pointed out.
A thing to note is that athletes can only return their medals voluntarily.