Athletics: Russian doping whistleblowers 'have no regrets'

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found state-sponsored, systematic doping in Russian athletics, throwing its participation at the 2016 Rio Olympics into doubt.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found state-sponsored, systematic doping in Russian athletics, throwing its participation at the 2016 Rio Olympics into doubt. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (AFP) - The whistleblowing couple who blew open doping allegations in Russian athletics insisted on Tuesday (Jan 12) they regretted nothing despite threats that have forced them into hiding.

Former athlete Yulia Stepanova and her husband Vitali Stepanov, a former employee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), revealed in a German television documentary in 2014 claims of widespread doping fraud in their country's track and field set-up.

"We have no regrets," Mr Vitali Stepanov told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

"What we did was right. And if necessary, we'd do it again."

 

The couple and their young son live at a secret location in Germany and have had to move eight times since their arrival in December 2014. Their parents don't even know the location of their house because of threats they have faced since making the accusations.

In the wake of those allegations, a blistering report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission found state-sponsored, systematic doping in Russian athletics and the country was suspended by the IAAF, world athletics' governing body, throwing its participation at the 2016 Rio Olympics into doubt.

"We want a doping-free sport without corrupt state employees," said Mr Stefanov, whose wife Yulia was a former 800m runner who was banned for doping.

WADA's commission will publish their second report in Munich on Thursday, co-author and former WADA president Dick Pound promising it would be more explosive than the first one.