Russia Starts Investigation Into Systematic Doping Allegations

Igor Zagorskiy, a senior official in the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), has remarked that Russia has started its own investigation into allegations of widespread and systematic doping within the Russian sport. Russia was trying hard to have a well-respected anti-doping system that the world could have faith in, he said and added that we have no other choice at all and that concerns every other anti-doping organizations.

Liliya Shobukhova

A German documentary ran claims in November that 99 percent of Russian athletes were cheating. The German broadcaster ARD documentary also alleged that there was widespread and systematic doping in Russian sports. It went on to reveal that athletes in some sports such as swimming, skiing, and weightlifting were never tested. Athletes, featuring in the documentary, said positive drug samples were swopped for clean samples and anti-doping officials were bribed.

Interviews with high profile Russian athletes including Yulia Rusanova and her husband, anti-doping official Vitaly Stepanov, were broadcasted by ARD. It was revealed by the athletes that many Russian sports federations would come to Russian doping control officers offering "extra cash" to hush up positive tests. Vitaly accused Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the national doping test laboratory, of falsifying tests and selling banned substances.

It was also claimed by the documentary that it had proof of a 450,000 euro cash transfer to cover up a positive test between Liliya Shobukhova, the Chicago and London marathon winner, and Papa Massata Diack, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) marketing director and son of the IAAF President.

An investigation was immediately opened by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Athletics Federation (IAAF). Following it, Dr Gabriel Dolle, the most senior anti-doping official in the IAAF rendered his resignation along with Papa Massatta Diack. Valentin Balakhnichev, the Head of Russian Athletics also resigned from his post as treasurer for the sport’s world governing body. Valentin Maslakov, who oversaw the training of Russian team athletics since 2007 resigned in January from his post as Russia’s Head Athletics Coach within the Russian team.

Zagorskiy said RUSADA is taking the doping allegations very seriously and has undertaken its own investigation alongside that of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). The official added all persons mentioned or taking part in documentary are being questioned and all this information will be gathered and analyzed and added we ave former police officers that are working in RUSADA and we have very close contact with other police and other sources to ensure that the investigation is full and is fully impartial. He went on to remark that he is sure we will also see the results of investigation by WADA and added they have an independent commission created to conduct this investigation.

Igor Zagorskiy went on to reveal that we will disclose the results of the investigation but one has to understand that these things are highly time-consuming in nature as there are many people involved. He also remarked we have to question all of them and analyze the results of the answers they provide, if they are going to give the answers.

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