Russia is not the doping leader in athletics – Valentin Maslakov

The former head coach of the Russian Athletics Federation (VFLA) has slammed accusations of doping among Russian athletes.

Valentin Maslakov refuted suggestions made by The Sunday Times and in a documentary from German broadcaster ARD that Russia are a leading cheater in athletics, claiming doping is a global problem.

The two media organisations claim they have test results from around 5,000 athletes from 2001 to 2012, obtained from one of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) databases, that reveal an “extraordinary extent of cheating” in elite athletics.

“Of course it’s not true,” Maslakov told the Guardian.

“Everyone is the same, everyone is equal. Russia is not the leader in this area.”

Maslakov resigned in January after it was revealed five prominent Russian walkers – including three Olympic champions – were found guilty of doping.

Sergey Kirdyapkin – the 2012 Olympic champion in the men’s 50 kilometre walk, Valeriy Borchin – 2008 gold medallist in the men’s 20km walk, and Olga Kaniskina – who finished first and second, respectively, in the women’s 20km walk at the past two Olympic Games – were caught under the IAAF Athlete Biological Passport programme.

The other two walkers to be sanctioned were 2011 men’s world champion in the 50km walk – Sergey Bakulin – and former world junior champion Vladimir Kanaykin.

“Leading athletes live in Russia,” Maslakov said.

“If they search for it [doping] elsewhere, they’ll find it elsewhere.”