Moscow: Russian athletes suspected of doping will be barred from competing at the world championships starting in Beijing next week, the All-Russian Athletics Federation said yesterday. "No Russian athlete suspected of taking banned substances will take part in the upcoming world championships," ITAR-TASS news agency quoted the secretary general of All-Russian Athletics Federation, Sergei Butov, as saying.
Recent accusations of mass doping worldwide made by German broadcaster ARD and Britain's Sunday Times newspaper have plunged athletics into a new crisis marring the build-up to Beijing. "Our decision is not based on media reports, which allege different things," Butov added. "We ... are basing the decision exclusively on the rules of the IAAF and on nothing else."
On Sunday, ARD reported that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had recently demanded explanations from Russian sporting authorities regarding athletes suspected of doping, including Olympic gold medallist Mariya Savinova. ARD also alleged that three Russian national team coaches and a team doctor could be facing life bans.
Athletics federation caretaker chief Vadim Zelichenok said he has not received any IAAF explanation requests. "We haven't got any IAAF official letters or inquiries on this subject," Zelichenok said. "But in any case none of the country's athletes, who have already been suspended or fell under suspicion of dope cheating, will take part in the worlds in Beijing."