RussianFlag3© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

Lamine Diack, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) told the BBC that suggestions that Russia should be banned from major events (for apparent systematic doping) were, “a joke.”

He added, “They are in. They are in. It’s a great nation of athletics.”

Is the man delusional? Where is the World Anti-Doping Agency on this? Where is the International Olympic Committee? The governing body of sport in Russia, the Russian Athletics Federation (RUSADA) and the anti-doping agency (Rusada) had the entire collection of athletes doping, according to the documentary, How Russia Makes Champions and apparently the IAAF President could care less.

The German television-made documentary How Russia Makes Champions revealed that as much as 99% of Russian athletes are doped due to an apparent systematic doping program.

As stated in a past article at Athletics Illustrated, to demonstrate that WADA, the IAAF and IOC are serious about stopping doping; here is the chance of a lifetime to show the few remaining fans of the sport that doping will not be tolerated. This is the proverbial 500 pound gorilla in the kitchen. It is unlikely that another shiny, golden opportunity will present itself like this – served on a silver platter – where an entire nation and its own doping agency and its own governing body are caught apparently doping its own athletes, systematically.

If President Lamine Diack feels that it is okay to for an entire nation to dope, then he is a joke.

Currently there are at approximately 70 Russian athletes serving suspensions for doping related infractions, this is far and away the most in the world and is offensive to the fair play credo of the sport.

According to the IAAF’s own language in a document published in 2000 titled, ‘National Athletics Federations, Roles and Obligations’:

The international obligations of an IAAF Member Federation include basic constitutional obligations which are conditions of membership as well as a long list of special obligations or expectations which are designed to ensure the fair and uniform operation of athletics in all parts of the world.

Basic Domestic Responsibilities

1 Governing:

  • To be responsible for all aspects of athletics within the boundaries of the country.
  • To promote the sport of athletics and the development of an athletics culture.
  • To provide an appropriate administrative structure and services for the functioning of the federation and the sport.
  • To maintain an official list of national records (Senior/Junior/Indoor).
  • To undertake proceedings against athletes who may have rendered themselves ineligible and to impose sanctions where appropriate.
  • To undertake proceedings against any individual or group who may have violated the rules of the federation and to impose sanctions where appropriate.

Currently, the founder of WADA and former Vice-President Dick Pound is heading an independent commission to investigate the allegations of systematic doping, extortion and cover-ups taking place in Russia. He is heading a three-person commission. Pound will be joined by Canadian Professor Richard McLaren, who is a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Since ARD Television aired How Russia Makes Champions there has been fallout. For example, the latest token movement within the Russian Athletics Federation is a letter penned on the 23rd of January, by the head coach Valentin Maslakov who offered to step down. He has been involved in coaching in Russia and its former iterations CIS and Soviet Union for 41 years. He has been involved in the sport during at least 94 doping suspensions. This is apparently a drop in the bucket of the number of athletes who dope, as it includes the recent spate of 2014 suspensions.

According to Valentin Balaknichev, the President of RAF, “This is a manly thing to do from an absolute professional in his business…” and “…we discussed this together after the affect the doping revelations have had on Russian athletics. Even though Maslakov has nothing to do with anti-doping policies of the Russian athletics team, he could not stand by idly and decided to take responsibility for those who he was in charge of.”

Balaknichev himself stepped down in December.

His withdrawal took place three days after RUSADA announced that three of their race-walking Olympic gold medallists, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin and Sergei Kirdyapkin and the world champion from the 2011 Daegu world championships Sergei Bakulin as well as the silver medallist from the same meet Vladimir Kanaykin have been suspended for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDS).

Diack’s own son Papa Massata, is himself in trouble. He has stepped down and has relinquished his duties, to do with marketing for the IAAF. He has been implicated in apparent bribes, where it is said he was seeking several million dollars in advance of approving Doha, Qatar’s imminent approval to host the 2019 IAAF World Track and Field Championships. Diack denies wrongdoing, of course. And of course Doha won.

Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is also under the microscope for apparent extortion of Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova, she paid Rusada approximately $600,000 to cover up her positive drug test.

Meanwhile Vitaliy Stepanov’s career was focused on eradicating doping in sport and is a former employee with RUSADA; he helped his wife (800m runners Yuliya Stepanov),dope and is now helping his wife expose Russia and RUSADA through the media, which has manifested in the three-part documentary that aired on ZRF/ARD television. Apparently more people are coming forward with evidence.

It is time for Diack to step down, now and let someone who cares about the sport of Athletics do the right thing and ban Russia from participation until further notice.

Read here the exclusive, raw and unedited interview with Vitaly Stepanov.

Article: To the IAAF: Ban Russia Now.

Series of articles on doping and interviews with Hajo Seppelt, the German investigative journalist who broke the story.

Join the discussion.