Suspended coaches complicate the reinstatement of Russia into the IAAF

Photo: David Jones/Flickr


By Mads A. Wickstrøm
Russian whistleblower presents allegations that Russian athletics coaches continue to coach professional athletes despite being banned for doping violations.

In a recent documentary by the German channel ARD, Russian 1500 metres runner, Andrey Dmitriev, claims that coaches facing suspension over violations of international doping law, continue to work openly with professional athletes. Secret films, recorded by Dmitriev himself, show professional 800 metres coach, Vladimir Kazarin, engaged in multiple training sessions of 400 as well as 800 metres runners in 2016. The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) advised its regional associations to stop working with Kazarin in April 2016. However, in an interview with ARD, Dmitriev says that no change has followed RusAF’s action:

“You say that we are changing, but these people are still there. This is just hypocrisy for me. It’s lying. It’s imitating changes, but there are none really.”

In addition, Dmitriev says that Kazarin is far from the only coach, or athlete, to ignore suspension:

“I see the coaches who I know use doping, they are still there. And the athletes who I know for sure were doping, they still train there.”

Vladimir Kazarin, along with other coaches and athletes, have failed to respond to the allegations made by Dmitriev. Furthermore, RusAF has kept quite when contacted by the ARD.

IAAF Taskforce meeting
A meeting between the IAAF anti-doping Task force and Russian officials, including Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov, is scheduled to take place on January 24. During the meeting, the respective sides are expected to negotiate the suspension of Russia from the IAAF. Dmitry Shlyakhtin, President of RusAF, is optimistic that the meeting will result in a positive outcome, writes Inside the Games. However, the allegations put forward in the ARD documentary could present a serious obstacle to the reinstatement of Russia into the IAAF.

“If it is indeed one of the coaches that has been provisionally suspended by the IAAF, then RusAF should have been in a position to enforce that suspension […] and therefore RusAF has not fulfilled the conditions for reinstatement,” IAAF chief executive Olivier Gers, told ARD, according to Inside the Games.

Günter Younger, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chief investigator, describes Dmitriev’s coming forward as “incredibly brave”. Additionally, Younger asserted WADA’s effort to safeguard whistleblowers, such as Andrey Dmitriev, in an interview with ARD:

“Of course we will be contacting him (Dmitriev ed.), and will try to find a way together to ensure his protection”.



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