A new Government ministerial position is to be introduced specifically to combat doping in Russia, as crisis levels deepened even further today following accusations a race walker serving a life ban is being employed as a national coach.
The Deputy Minister position, announced by Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko today, will see the post-holder working beneath Mutko, taking responsibility for all affairs involving doping, including the independence of the Russian Anti Doping Agency.
This comes following a crisis period for Russian sport ever since a German TV documentary reported systematic doping within Russian athletics, even alleging of Government involvement in a mass cover-up.
An investigation has since been opened by the World Anti Doping Agency.
Problems have increased even further this week with the news that five Russian race walkers – including Olympic champions Sergei Kirdyapkin, Olga Kaniskina and Sergei Bakulin – have been handed bans, with Australian race walker Jared Tallent, who has twice collected Olympic silver medals behind convicted drugs cheats, calling for all Russian athletes to be banned from competition for a year until improvements are made.
“We will see a Government job that will concentrate exclusively on the fight against doping, Mutko said, as reported by news agency ITAR-TASS.
“We are changing the structure and I will have to create a position in the department, which will exclusively concentrate on fighting against doping.
“In part, it will answer for the independent Russian Anti-Doping Agency.
“We need to take a stronger stance toward this work.
“We have created an anti-doping system and it will be impossible to get around it, we need to help our sportsmen.”
Mutko, who dismissed the allegations of German TV Station ARD last month as being aimed at humiliating Russian sport, also appeared to perform a u-turn, criticising the Russian Athletics Federation for not being “in tune with the state’s anti-doping policies”.
The body’s President, Valentin Balakhnichev, has also said he is prepared to stand down from his position if requested.
Meanwhile, the International Association of Athletics Federations has opened an investigation into why former European junior champion race walker Sergei Morozov is listed as a coach on the website of the Olympic Training Center despite being handed a life ban in 2012 for a second doping offense.
The ban ruled that he cannot work in athletics in any capacity.
“All allegations reported to the IAAF which involve potential breaches of IAAF Anti-Doping Rules are taken seriously and are investigated,” a spokesperson told insidethegames today.
“As already confirmed there is a wide-ranging investigation being conducted by IAAF and WADA into multiple allegations concerning Russian athletes.”
Olga Kaniskina, the Beijing 2008 Olympic 20 kilometres walk champion who is among those now serving bans, has stepped down from her position as Director of the Centre in response to the ban, Mutko confirmed.
“Of course she would be removed,” the Minister told agency R-Sport.
“I will personally give instructions to the Centre myself so that they will implement the correct measures that are needed.”
But the Centre’s controversial head coach, Viktor Chegin, seemingly remains in his post despite at least 20 of the athletes under his charge having been implicated in scandals.
This article was republished by the original publisher, insidethegames.