MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Olympic chief on Thursday urged athletes to steer clear of coaches banned for doping after Reuters reported that two athletics coaches and one doctor serving doping suspensions were still working with athletes.
“We need changes in the minds of athletes, coaches and all those involved in athletics training,” Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in comments carried by TASS news agency.
“In order to avoid the problems with coaches that were raised in Western media, athletes themselves need to run from such coaches.”
Reuters reported last week that Russian athletics coaches Vladimir Mokhnev and Valery Volkov, both serving doping bans, are still working with athletes.
Doctor Sergei Portugalov, formerly the athletics federation’s chief medical officer, has been giving medical advice on nutrition and training in lectures at a Moscow gym despite serving a doping ban, Reuters also found.
Athletes must not receive training, strategy, nutritional or medical advice from banned coaches or medical staff and can face sanctions if they do, according to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.
Pozdnyakov added that the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA should be “engaged in identifying such cases, and not only test athletes”, TASS reported.
RUSADA, the Russian sports ministry and global athletics body IAAF have said Reuters’ findings would be investigated.
Russia’s athletics federation has been suspended since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in the sport.
Despite the ban, some Russians — including 2015 world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov — have been cleared by the IAAF to compete internationally after demonstrating that they are training in a doping-free environment.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christian Radnedge)