MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia continues to violate anti-doping rules despite its suspension from international track and field and orders from world athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, to eradicate cheating, Germany’s ARD broadcaster said on Sunday.
ARD said coaches suspended in the worst corruption and doping scandal to hit the IAAF were still working in the sport while others continued to provide banned substances to athletes.
Vladimir Kazarin, one of the suspended coaches who appeared in the ARD documentary, described the accusations in a telephone interview with Reuters as “an absolute load of rubbish”. He said they were intended to make sure Olympic superpower Russia was not allowed to compete in the Rio Olympics beginning in August.
Russia was suspended from athletics in November after a special commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) exposed widespread state-sponsored cheating and corruption. It would be allowed to compete in Rio only if it convinced investigators it had met clearly defined standards.
The ban imposed on Russia, second behind the United States in the track and field medal table at the London 2012 Olympics, followed doping allegations made by ARD and the Sunday Times last year.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told Reuters by telephone it was “eye-opening that a state television channel in Germany is so concerned about the situation in Russia.
“These facts have once again been taken out of context and are an attempt to mislead the public. We have a huge country, with 83 regions. It is possible that a banned coach could be working somewhere, but certainly not with the national team and not at official events.”
Russian coach Kazarin denied having worked since the suspension was imposed on him and said he had been ‘left in limbo’ by global athletics authorities. “They are deliberately dragging out the process.
“This is all leading up to making sure that we do not compete in the Olympics. There is very little time left. I believe this is a political request from the Americans.
“The USA controls politics and sport. At the 2013 World Championships, Russia won seven gold medals. If we are banned, then all these medals will go to the USA and Great Britain.”
The IAAF said in a statement on Sunday:
“The Task force will look carefully into the matters raised by the latest documentaries, including discussing them with representatives of (Russian athletics).”
The WADA report cited graft among international officials and ordered an overhaul of Russia’s anti-doping structure and national anti-doping agency RUSADA.
Germany’s athletics federation chief Clemens Prokop said in the ARD program: “Apparently, the situation (in Russia) as it has been called into question by the WADA Independent Commission, has not substantially changed.”
“This can only mean that the conditions for the Olympic participation of Russian athletes is not satisfied.”
Russia’s track and field athletes will only be eligible for the Olympics if their suspended federation meets standards set by the IAAF and currently being investigated by a task force.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Ralph Boulton and Ken Ferris