Russia facing Olympics ban
Coe pledges to ‘fix’ doping scandal in athletics
Athletics was thrown into turmoil today following damning evidence of “state supported” doping by the Russians which faces expulsion from future competitions.
A list allegations cast a cloud over the 2012 London Olympics with many athletes claiming they feel cheated and, in some cases, denied medals.
Russia, which is due to host the football World Cup in 2018, may be barred from competing at the Rio Olympics next year unless it can clean up its act.
A 323-page report, commissioned by the Word Anti-Doping Agency, calls for lifetime bans for five Russian middle-distance runners, including Olympic 800m champion Mariya Savinova-Farnosova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova.
The agency spent 11 months producing its report after an investigation in Germany claimed Russian officials systematically accepted payment from athletes to supply banned substances and cover up tests.
The report’s co-author Dick Pound warned that its findings were simply “the tip of the iceberg”. It found that:
- ‘Doped’ Russian athletes were allowed to compete in London due to a ‘collective and inexplicable laissez-fair policy’ adopted by the sport’s rulers the IAAF, the Russian Athletics Federation and the country’s doping body;
- The Moscow testing laboratory director Grigory Rodchenko allegedly ordered 1,417 doping control samples to be destroyed, three days before investigators arrived on site;
- The Russian government was apparently complicit in the corrupt practices and Russian Sports Ministry Vitaly Mutko allegedly issued direct orders to ‘manipulate particular samples’;
- Agents from Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB, were said to have infiltrated anti-doping work at the Sochi Olympics;
- Staff at the Moscow lab thought it was bugged and there were allegedly regular visits from an FSB agent;
Russia has described the report as ‘political’ and says there is no evidence to support the claims.
But Lord Coe (pictured), the head of world athletics, called the report “alarming” and vowed to seek approval from IAAF to bring sanctions against Russia.
The IAAF President told ITV: “If there are failings in our anti-doping programme, if there have been failing in our internal governances I will fix them. Whatever we need to do to fix this, we will fix.”