Monday, December 8, 2014

Ban Russians from international sport if doping proved

Pressure is growing to find out if allegations that Russia provided performance-enhancing drugs to athletes and then cover it up are true.

British marathoner Paula Radcliffe told BBC that countries whose athletes are frequently caught doping should be banned from the Olympics.

During the Cold War it was widely known at the Soviet block athletes turned in performances that suggested they had extra help.

German and French media say they have confirmed Russia routinely violated rules prohibiting use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"I'd also look at the independent testing bodies," Radcliffe told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek. "Maybe they need to be taken away from the countries if they can't be trusted.

"I think there should be sanctions for that country competing in events like the World Championships, like the Olympic Games.”

Russia initially blew off the latest reports. On Monday, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the country will cooperate with a World Anti-Doping Agency inquiry.

Some athletes have claimed international sport bodies knew what was going on and ignored it.

Netherlands runner Yvonne Hak had to settle for a silver medal at the 2010 European Championships. Russian Mariya Savinova got the gold.

Hak said all the athletes suspected Russians of doping.  “Well all knew it,” she said, according to Associated Press.
Frankfurther Allgemeine reports 68 Russian athletes are currently banned for doping.

2012 Olympic champion Savinova was identified by the German network ARD documentary as one of the dopers.

“If even half of what ARD alleged is true, then this is a Lance Armstrong moment, potentially make-or-break, for Russian sports and for the wider sports world's anti-doping system built up over 15 years to try to keep it clean and credible,” AP said.But Armstrong is just one athlete, and he only won one Olympic medal. He had to give that bronze back, as well as have all seven of his Tour de France championships stripped. His case also illustrated how state-of-the-art science could avoid detection of banned drugs.Russia went much farther, if the allegations are true.The Telegraph accused the head of the Russian federation’s medical department, Sergei Portugalov, of “supplying doping products in exchange for five per cent of an athlete’s earnings, plus bonuses for competition wins.”  It also was reported Russian athletes had avoided out-of-competition testing by using false names during foreign training camps.

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