German documentary makes allegations against Russian athletics
Program claims doping is rife within the nation's athletes
World Anti-Doping Authority to investigate claims
IOC awaiting findings before making further comment
Allegations of endemic doping within Russian athletics revealed in a German documentary are to be investigated by the World Anti-Doping Authority.
The Das Erste documentary broadcast by ZDF/ARD alleged Russian officials covered up positive drugs tests in return for financial reward, that athletes traveled under assumed names to avoid doping programs and if they had failed tests they wouldn’t be allowed to compete in major events.
According to the English transcript, provided by Das Erste, former Russia discus thrower Evgenia Pecherina – currently serving a 10-year doping ban – alleged in an interview for the program that “most of” Russian athletes were doping.
She told “Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia produces its Winners:” The greater part. 99%. And you get absolutely anything. Everything the athlete wants. And the shorter the period it can be detected, the more expensive the product.”
The World Anti-Doping Authority, or WADA, said it had seen the allegations and “will ensure that all matters raised are fully investigated.
“WADA has in fact already received some information and evidence of the type exposed in the documentary,” the anti-doping organization said in a statement.
“All of that information has been passed to the appropriate independent body within the international federation, the IAAF,” added the WADA statement, referring to the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for athletics.
“We will await the outcome of that independent body’s deliberations.
The anti-doping body promised that if “action is warranted, WADA will take any necessary and appropriate steps under the Code.”
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) announced it would also be launching an investigation into the allegations Friday.
However, the day before Russian athletics federation president Valentin Balakhnichev, who is also the treasure of the IAAF, told Reuters news agency the documentary’s allegations were a “pack of lies.”
Russia came top of the medal table at the winter Olympics in Sochi this year and of their tested athletes none provide positive tests.
One of the athletes interviewed in the one-hour documentary, Liliya Shobukhova – a former Chicago and London marathon winner – alleges she paid the Russian Athletics Federation hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover up “abnormal blood values” and as a bribe to compete in the 2012 Games.
“It all started at the end of 2011, in December,” Shobukhova tells the program on camera, according to the transcript sent to CNN.
“The Russian Athletics Federation approached us. They told us that we could have problems – that participating at the 2012 Olympic Games was endangered.
“And now we would have to pay 150,000 Euros to solve these problems. Then I could take part in the Olympic Games. I have dedicated my whole life to preparing for the Olympic Games.”
By the next summer, Shobhukhova says she paid a total of 450,000 euros in bribes, according to the documentary.
Earlier this year the Russian Athletics Federation handed Shobukhova a two-year ban after her biological passport – a method used to monitor any potential doping violations – showed “abnormal haematological curves.”
Many of the claims made within the program come from Vitaliy Stepanov, a former official at RUSADA and his wife, Yuliya, a former runner who was banned for doping.
Vitaly Stepanov worked for RUSADA between 2008 and 2011, but he and his wife have now left Russia, according to the documentary.
“In a training camp in Portugal, our athletes simply lived under false names,” Yuliya told the documentary, according to the transcript CNN has been given.
“They have taken banned substances, they undertook a course of doping, and to ensure that foreign control officers did not come and test them, they provided false names.
“When we were in Kyrgyzstan in a training camp, I was supposed to start a course of tablets on 15 November. A coach asked me, ‘Have you got clean urine?’ I said to him: ‘No, you should have told me about that before.’
“Then he said: ‘Fill some in here in advance, so that you have some if the control officers come here.’ I then did what he had said and I had a container in the freezer with clean urine.
However Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of Moscow’s doping control lab, told investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt, who worked on the documentary: “You should be very careful to believe cheaters. Because they have the catastrophe of their life.”
The IOC told CNN that it is now awaiting a report from the IAAF.
“These are very serious allegations and the IOC will not hesitate to take all necessary steps,” an IOC spokeswoman told CNN in a statement.
“The IOC Ethics Commission has already been in contact with IAAF independent Ethics Commission which has begun an investigation. The IOC Ethics Commission has asked to be kept fully informed of any issues that could fall under its jurisdiction and for which future action may be necessary.”
According to the latest IAAF report, Russia currently has 68 athletes banned for doping offenses.
In a statement on its website, the IAAF revealed that its ethics commission would be examining the allegations.
“The IAAF has noted a number of grave allegations regarding doping activities related to the sport of athletics in Russia, which have been broadcast on the German TV channel ZDF/ARD on 3 December 2014,” read the statement.
“An investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission is already ongoing with respect to some of the allegations made in the documentary.
“We would like to underline that the IAAF Ethics Commission is completely independent of the IAAF and has full powers to investigate and issue sanctions when relevant.
“A transcript in English of the German TV documentary has been forwarded to the Ethics Commission.
“With regard to matters revealed in the documentary related to anti-doping and, therefore outside the scope of the Ethics Commission, these will be studied carefully and dealt with according to the relevant IAAF rules and in full co-operation with WADA.”