Little-known Russian athlete goes on German TV to claim WADA-banned coach still training
German TV channel ARD has aired another documentary on alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia. In the latest film, a minor Russian track and field athlete accuses a coach of secretly working despite being suspended, while claiming most Russian athletes still dope.
The 10-minute documentary is the latest installment produced by Hajo Seppelt, a German journalist who specializes in exposing doping practices and has focused on Russia for the past two years.
Seppelt interviewed a little-known Russian athlete named Andrey Dmitriev, who accused Russia’s sports authorities of deceiving the international community when they say they are fighting doping. Dmitriev backed his allegations with footage that he said he had secretly filmed of what appears to be coach Vladimir Kazarin training another athlete.
Kazarin was suspended after doping accusations against him and his athletes emerged in an earlier Seppelt documentary. The World Anti-Doping Agency recommended that Kazarin be banned from sport for life.
The All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), which governs athletics in Russia, responded to the accusations, saying that if Kazarin had coached someone, he had done so as a private citizen with no accreditation or funding from Russian authorities on any level.
“They did it at their own expense, and there is no law forbidding it now,” ARAF head Dmitry Shlyakhtin told R-Sport publication, adding “this situation has been more or less blown out of proportion by Dmitriev.”
In the ARD film, Dmitriev accuses suspended coach Sergey Epishin and two other people, whose names were beeped out by the channel, of being involved in doping practices. He went on to claim that “70 to 80 percent” of Russian athletes “dope” and that the few clean Russian athletes “are afraid to speak out.”
Commenting on the accusation to RT, Epishin said he didn’t personally know Dmitriev, but that judging by his blog post the athlete was “a person who likes to exaggerate things.”
“After what he said for the television, I could state clearly that he is a liar and a slanderer,” he said.
Dmitriev’s most impressive international sport achievement was coming in 50th in the IAAF Junior World Cross Championship in 2009. He says he received a scholarship and studied in the US between 2009 and 2014. He is also writing a blog in English focused on Russian doping.
The film was aired the day before a working group from the IAAF, which is to determine if ARAF’s suspension should be lifted, was due to arrive in Russia. IAAF CEO Olivier Gers said the German film would be discussed during the Moscow visit and that the case of Kazarin was one of the primary issues on the agenda.