Russia and Doping: a Worrying Trend

November 19, 20091
Anton Kamenev, nordic combined
Anton Kamenev, nordic combined
Anton Kamenev
Anton Kamenev

Shortly after John Fahey, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency(WADA) announced his worry over the increasing number of Russian athletes involved in doping violations, Russian nordic combine athlete Anton Kamenev, 23, failed a drug test at the Russian National Championships in Moscow.  Kamenov will be banned from competition for two years after being tested positive for amphetamines.

Earlier this year cross country skiing champions Julia Chepalova and Yevgeny Dementiev retired after being tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) at the Val di Fiemme Tour de Ski in 2008.  Chepalova had numerous gold medals, World Championships and an overall World Cup in 2001.  Dementiev had won an Olympic gold medal in the 30km pursuit at Torino. 

Last January Nina Rysina, also on the Russian ski team, tested positive for EPO while competing.  Then, in July, the International Biathlon Union handed a two year suspension to Russian biathletes Albina Akhatova, Yekaterina Iourieva and Dmitri Yaroshenko for a positive test at a December World Cup in Sweden.

The violators are not all skiers: in  2008 seven female track and field athletes were suspended just before the Bejing Olympics.  The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) had been conducting a year-long sting operation because of suspicious results and tests that had been received since 2006.  The scope and length of the evasion, wherein athletes were tipped on when they would be tested which allowed them to subsitute clean urine samples for testing, was such that concerns were raised over the legitamacy of Russian doping protocols, and the involvment of coaches and other officials in the evasion.

Fahey said that the trend was “troubling” and that WADA had been in discussion with Russian authorities in attempt to help them straighten out the issue. Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has put together a special commission to investigate the doping charges in an effort to prevent a repeat occurance. 

Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko
Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko

In an article last March from Russian president Dmitry Medvedev stated that the violations were in direct relation to the lax and out-of-date  Russian doping protocols.  After visiting Sochi, the training center at the site of the 2014 Olympics, the President announced his plans to “modernize” Russian doping protocols in order that they match the strict standards of Europe.  Mutko insists that after building a new doping control center that will open at the end of the year “There will be no more problems in dope testing for us in the near future.”

Before Kamenov was caught Ian Harvey provided this view of  Recent Russian Doping History

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One comment

  • timg

    November 19, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Maybe John Fahey could play a couple of bars of “The Worried Man Blues” in open C.

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