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Russian Whistleblower Stepanova to Receive Anti-Doping Award

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Yuliya Stepanova, the Russian athlete who blew the whistle on her country’s state-sponsored doping regime, is being honored with an anti-doping award. Photo: EPA

Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova has been named as the recipient of an anti-doping award given out by Doping-Opfer-Hilfe e.V., a Berlin-based organisation that aims to help victims of organized sport.

Stepanova and husband Vitaly Stepanov have taken up residence at an unknown location in the United States due to having to flee Russia after they provided evidence of state-sponsored doping in 2014.

Their allegations, made to German television channel ARD, led directly to an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) investigation, which resulted in Russia being banned in November 2015.

Doping-Opfer-Hilfe e.V. is due to award its 2016 honour to Stepanova at a ceremony in Germany’s capital next Monday (December 12).

The event will be broadcast live on the Support Stepanov website, which is accessible here.

In October, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) provided the Stepanovs with a range of support measures following a meeting with the organization’s President Thomas Bach.

As a result of discussions, it was confirmed former Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) employee Vitaly would provide a consultancy service to the IOC on all aspects of doping control and the protection of clean athletes.

It was also confirmed middle-distance runner Yuliya would receive a scholarship to be used for her training.

Additionally, a request was made by the IOC to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for assistance in contacting universities and training facilities.

It all represented the first genuine sign of support by the IOC to the husband and wife duo in what could have been interpreted as an attempt to encourage other whistleblowers to come forward.

They had been fiercely criticized in July for their refusal to allow Stepanova – who previously served a two-year doping ban – to compete as an independent athlete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, despite the IAAF having allowed her to participate internationally.

This was because she had “long implication in a doping system” and supposedly did “not satisfy the ethical requirements for an athlete to enter the Olympic Games.”

Stepanov claimed during an August teleconference that the IOC had offered them “no support” and sought to use the situation only to benefit their “own position.”

Russia’s suspended track and field athletes look increasingly likely to remain out in the cold during next summer’s IAAF World Championships in London, according to new details from the world governing body’s Taskforce’s latest report.

In maintaining the current suspension at least until next February, the IAAF Taskforce head Rune Andersen told Council on Thursday that there could be no change until the RUSADA, currently suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), had been reinstated.

Only one Russian athlete – long jumper Darya Klishina – ultimately competed at Rio 2016 after being the only one to prove she had been operating in an “effective testing system” outside the country.

A separate WADA-commissioned investigation has opened this year into alleged doping during the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This probe, spearheaded by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, is expected to reveal more evidence on Friday (December 9).

While lauded as whistleblowing pioneers in much of the world, the Stepanovs are seen as traitors in Russia for setting this chain of investigations into motion.

The couple were forced to move locations over the summer after both Stepanova’s e-mail address and her Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS) online whereabouts account were hacked.

By Daniel Etchells

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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