IAAF chief reacts sharply to WADA's report on systematic dope cheating in Russia; Demands detailed explanation from Russian Federation by end of this week
London: World athletics chief Sebastian Coe wants the Russian federation to respond by the end of this week to a damning report into systematic dope cheating that could see the country's athletes banned from the Olympics.
In happier times: IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe stands with former president Lamine Diack during the 50th IAAF Congress in Beijing earlier this year. Diack is accused of having received over a million dollars from Russian authorities to cover up positive doping tests of their athletes. Pic/Getty Images
The report, by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission, published on Monday, called for Russian athletes to be suspended from all competitions, including the 2016 Olympics.
"I will seek an explanation for the allegations and the (International Association of Athletics Federations) council will then make a judgment," Coe, the IAAF president, told journalists in a conference call.
"My instinct remains to encourage engagement not isolation, but the extent of what's being said, I need to seek (IAAF) council support to have them (the Russian Athletics Federation) report back by the end of the week.
"The allegations are deeply shocking and alarming and I accept that the sport's credibility is on the line." WADA also suggested the presence of doped athletes had "sabotaged" the 2012 Olympics in London.
"We have received it only today and are still absorbing it," said Coe, a 1500m gold medallist for Britain at both the 1980 and 1984 Games, of the 320-page report.
"We will investigate and if we find failures in our governance we will act," insisted Coe, who took over as president in August after the retirement of Lamine Diack, who was charged by French police last week with corruption over allegations he took bribes to cover up dope cases.
"Dick Pound (report author and ex-head of WADA) said in the report this was not IAAF policy but rogue individuals, who have inserted themselves into the organisation.
"If there are issues we have to absorb then we will but the report did also say that this is not limited to track and field and not limited to one country."
IAAF can ban Russia, whom Pound accused of indulging in "state-sponsored" corruption, from its events, including the 2017 world championships in London.
All Olympic Games are run under the sporting authority of the International Olympic Committee. But were Russia to be banned by the IAAF at the time of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, their athletes would effectively be frozen out of track and field events — the centrepiece of any Olympics.
Coe vs Diack
Questions have been asked about Coe's suitability to lead a clean-up given when Diack stepped down as IAAF chief, he spoke of his "deep admiration" for his predecessor and said Diack would always be the "spiritual president." But Coe denied this hampered him from taking effective action.
"That presumes that when I made those remarks, I had a list of allegations. I didn't. I recognise that I am going to come in for some criticism, but as Dick Pound actually said, I share his sentiments, I'm completely shocked."
Kristina Ugarova (Age: 28, event: 1500m)
Did not compete at London 2012. Currently ranked at 110 in the world in the 1500m, over which her personal best time is 4:00.53, clocked in Moscow in 2012.
Ekaterina Poistogova (Age: 24, event: 800m)
Took Olympic bronze by finishing third behind Savinova and Caster Semenya of South Africa at London 2012 in her best result to date. Also a silver-medallist at the European Indoor Championships in Prague earlier this year.
Anastasiya Bazdyreva (Age: 23, event: 800m)
Did not compete at London 2012. Has won many 800m gold this year, including at the Russian Championship.
Mariya Savinova (Age: 30, event: 800m)
Savinova’s career high came when being crowned 800m champion at the London 2012 Olympics. She had also won the world title over the same distance in Daegu the previous year, and claimed silver in the event at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
Tatjana Myazina (Age: 27, event: 800m)
Did not compete at the 2012 London Olympics. Won the 800m gold at the Necheukhin Memorial in July in Chelyabinsk, Russia.