MONTE CARLO: World athletics’ governing body has started investigating claims that Russia is continuing to flout anti-doping regulations as it seeks access to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Russia was suspended from international athletics in November after a special commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency exposed widespread state-sponsored cheating and corruption.
Subsequently a taskforce was created by the International Association of Athletics Federations to oversee attempts at self-reform by the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF).
However, Sunday’s latest allegations from German public-service broadcaster ARD/WDR included footage appearing to show a Russian coach, Vladimir Mokhnev, continuing to train leading Russian athletes despite having been suspended by the IAAF.
Mokhnev was accused in a WADA commission report in November of providing banned substances to athletes who trained with him, leading to his suspension. Mokhnev denied any wrongdoing.
ARD also claimed it had obtained audio recordings of conversations involving Anna Antseliovich, the acting head of the Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA, which was suspended by WADA in November amid allegations its staff covered up doping by top Russian athletes.
Antseliovich, while serving in an earlier role at Rusada, allegedly told an unnamed athlete that she could reschedule a drug test.
Responding to the latest allegations, the IAAF said in a statement: “The task force will look carefully into the matters raised by the latest documentaries, including discussing them with representatives of (Russian athletics).”
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the Reuters news agency it was “eye-opening that a state television channel in Germany is so concerned about the situation in Russia.”
He added: “These facts have once again been taken out of context and are an attempt to mislead the public. We have a huge country, with 83 regions. It is possible that a banned coach could be working somewhere, but certainly not with the national team and not at official events.”
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