Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Russian athletics federation (RusAF) are to investigate allegations made in a new ARD documentary that banned Russian coaches are continuing to train Russian athletes and supply them with prohibited substances. ‘The IAAF thanks ARD and Mr. Seppelt for giving the independent Chair Rune Andersen of the IAAF Taskforce advance access to video and audio recording material which was broadcast in today’s ARD/WDR documentaries’, read a emailed IAAF statement. ‘The Taskforce will look carefully into the matters raised by the latest documentaries, including discussing them with representatives of RusAF.’
RusAF has said that it will launch its own investigation. ‘On Sunday 6 March 2016, WRD, one of the German TV channels, showed the third documentary by Hajo Seppelt [pictured], which contained information about two violations with regard to Russian coaches Vladimir Mokhnev and Yuri Gordeev’, read a statement. ‘Dmitry Shlyakhtin, President of RusAF, entrusted a RusAF Investigation Commission to thoroughly analyse all episodes shown in the film and present the results of a detailed investigation in each particular case […] We are open for a strategic cooperation and partnership with IAAF and WADA and we will not allow certain individuals to cast suspicion on Russian athletics.’
Both Mokhnev and Goordeev are still listed on the RusAF internet site. Mokhnev is listed as coaching two U23 athletes and one senior athlete, whereas Goordeev is listed as coaching a senior athlete. The documentary, ‘Top Secret Doping: Russia’s Red Herring’ (Geheimsache Doping: Russlands Täuschungsmanöver in German below), shows Mokhnev training athletes in the remote Russian town of Gubkin. A letter from IAAF Taskforce Chairman Rune Andersen, also shown in the documentary, says that it views this as a ‘serious matter’, as ‘it is our understanding that [Mokhnev] has been provisionally suspended since August 2015 pending resolution of proceedings brought against hm for violation of the IAAF’s Anti-Doping Rules’.
The documentary also alleges that in the past, senior officials from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) had warned athletes regarding upcoming tests. The documentary showed emails as evidence, which had copied acting RUSADA Director Anna Antseliovich into the address field. A recorded audio conversation features Antseliovich telling an athlete when a doping test would take place, claims the documentary. Antseliovich took over from Nikita Kamaev, who died on Valentine’s Day this year. It is understood that he was planning a book about his time as Managing Director of RUSADA.
“If an official was deliberately telling athletes about testing in order to defeat the doping control, then that official would have to be disciplined”, said Joseph De Pencier, CEO of iNADO, the international organisation for anti-doping organisations in the documentary. “There would have to be a process to explore that and one of the consequences of that could be that they would be fired […] The Russian athletics federation and its athletes should not compete in Rio.”
The Russian Ministry of Sport attempted to distance itself from the new allegations. “We have done everything possible over the past five years”, said Russian Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko in a statement. “We do not claim that there is no problem with doping in Russia. In athletics, not even in all but in some of its disciplines, we have some problems. But understand that the imposition of sanctions on certain persons and control over their use is the task of the relevant anti-doping organisations, and not the State.”
In an interview, he said that the new allegations were a deliberate attempt to make sure that Russia cannot compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “This is all leading up to making sure that we do not compete in the Olympics” he told Reuters. “There is very little time left. I believe this is a political request from the Americans. The USA controls politics and sport. At the 2013 World Championships, Russia won seven gold medals. If we are banned, then all these medals will go to the USA and Great Britain.”
The allegations made in the documentary will put pressure on the IAAF Taskforce, which is due to present its report on whether the Russian athletics federation has put in place the necessary reforms to be readmitted to the IAAF Council on Friday. “They [RUSADA] are continuing to lie to the IAAF and WADA”, Vitaly Stepanov told ARD. Stepanov is a former RUSADA employee who is married to Yulia Stepanova, who originally blew the whistle on what was going on in Russia. The documentary said that the IOC is considering allowing Stepanova to compete in Rio 2016 under the Olympic flag in recognition of her contribution towards uncovering doping and corruption in Russian sport.