As many as 99 per cent of Russian athletes are guilty of doping, a German TV documentary has alleged. The programme claims that Russian officials systematically accepted payment from athletes to supply banned substances and cover up tests.
The documentary, shown by Das Erste, also implicated the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF in covering up the abuse. The Russian Athletics Federation, RAF said the allegations are lies. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA has said it will fully investigate the claims.
The BBC has not independently verified the documentary’s allegations and is awaiting responses from athletes targeted in the programme. In the documentary, broadcast on Wednesday, former discus thrower Yevgeniya Pecherina claimed that 99 per cent of athletes selected to represent Russia use banned substances. “You can get absolutely everything,” added the 25-year-old Russian. “Everything the athlete wants.”
Pecherina is currently serving a 10-year doping ban that is due to end in 2023. She had already been handed a two-year suspension in 2011. Liliya Shobukhova, who won the London Marathon in 2010 was also interviewed in the programme and admits paying the Russian Athletics Federation 450,000 Euros (£350,000) to cover up a positive doping test.
She is currently serving a two-year ban after irregularities were detected in her biological passport. The documentary also included an undercover video purporting to show 800m runner Mariya Savinova, who won gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, admitting to using the banned steroid oxandrolone.
The video was dubbed into German with the original audio track absent, but the channel said it possessed an unedited version. The claims stem principally from former Russian Anti-Doping Agency, RUSADA, official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife Yulia (nee Rusanova), formerly an 800m runner who was banned for doping.
They allege that leading Russian athletics officials supplied banned substances in exchange for 5 per cent of an athlete’s earnings and colluded with doping control officers to hush up and falsify tests. Yulia Stepanova said it was also common for Russian athletes to avoid out-of-competition testing by using false names while training abroad.
WADA said that the claims would be “carefully scrutinised”, adding that it had “already received some information and evidence of the type exposed in the documentary.” It added it had passed the information on to be investigated by “the appropriate independent body” within the IAAF.
A WADA statement concluded: “If action is warranted, WADA will take any necessary and appropriate steps under the code.”