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New ARD Documentary Shows WADA-Banned Coach Still Training

A documentary on alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia has been released by German TV channel ARD.

In the documentary, a coach was shown secretly working despite being suspended by a minor Russian field-and-track athlete. The athlete also claims most Russian athletes still dope. The documentary is the latest in a series of documentaries Hajo Seppelt, a German journalist who specializes in exposing doping practices and has focused on Russia for the last two years.

A little-known Russian athlete named Andrey Dmitriev was interviewed by Seppelt. Dmitriev accused the sports authorities of Russia of deceiving the international community by talking "tall and loud" about their fight against doping. The athlete backed his allegations with footage in which banned coach Vladimir Kazarin is seen training another athlete. The World Anti-Doping Agency has recommended Kazarin be banned from sport for life after doping accusations against him and his athletes emerged in an earlier Seppelt documentary. Dmitriev accused suspended coach Sergey Epishin and two other people, whose names were beeped out by the channel, of being involved in doping practices. The athlete went on to comment that as much as “70 to 80 percent” of Russian athletes “dope” and also remarked the few clean Russian athletes “are afraid to speak out.”

The ten-minute documentary included a video shared by Dmitriev from his mobile phone with Kazarin, the suspended track and field athletics, offering some instructions to athletes Natalia Danilova and Artyom Denmukhametov in an indoors' premises. Dmitriev claims the incident took place in Chelyabinsk on January 12. Dmitriev demonstrated his mobile phone in the documentary with a date and a page from Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Suspended coach Sergey Epishin, reacting to the allegations, said he does not personally know Andrey Dmitriev but he can easily make out that the athlete was a person who likes to exaggerate things. Epishin added he could state clearly that Dmitriev is a liar and a slanderer after what he said for the television.

In reaction, the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) said Kazarin may have coached someone as a private citizen with no accreditation or funding from Russian authorities on any level. ARAF head Dmitry Shlyakhtin said they did it at their own expense, and there is no law forbidding it now. Shlyakhtin added this situation has been more or less blown out of proportion by Dmitriev, the minor Russian field-and-track athlete.

The film was aired a day before the working group of the world governing body of athletics is to determine whether the suspension of ARAF should be lifted was due to arrive in Russia. IAAF CEO Olivier Gers remarked the case of Kazarin was one of the primary issues on the agenda and added the German film would be discussed during the Moscow visit.

Recently, Anna Antseliovich, the acting director of Russia’s national anti-doping agency RUSADA, admitted the existence of a doping campaign that involved hundreds of the country’s athletes. Antseliovich remarked the government’s top officials were not involved. However, RUSADA was quick to comment that the comments of comments had been distorted and taken out of context.

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Albert Wolfgang
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