11 Nov 2015

Officials not competitors should be punished says Russian athlete

8:32 am on 11 November 2015

An athlete at the centre of the doping and corruption scandal engulfing Russian athletics says punishment should be meted out to officials, and not competitors.

Disgraced Liliya Shobukhova lashed out at a call from an independent WADA commission to suspend Russia's athletics federation from all competition.

"I just don't understand this recommendation by WADA," the Russian daily sports Express quoted Shobukhova as saying in its Tuesday's issue.

Russian sports newspaper Express

Russian sports newspaper Express Photo: Supplied

"The athletes are not connected to this at all! How is it possible to deprive young athletes, who are not to be blame, of the right to compete at the Olympic Games?"

Shobukhova was excluded for life from all the world's major marathons because of doping, but had a separate doping ban cut in August after agreeing to cooperate with the WADA probe.

She alleged in the WADA report that she paid Russian athletics officials to help cover up doping violations.

The runner said former Russian Athletics Federation head Valentin Balakhnichev and coach Alexei Melnikov should be the ones to face justice.

"We (the athletes) have worked hard for years, we've risked our health to win medals, while Balakhnichev and Melnikov profited from our hard work," Shobukhova said.

An independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Russia's athletics federation should be suspended from all competitions.

It alleged evidence of systematic cheating with the consent of the government in Moscow, noting that drug tests for athletes were conducted at a Russian laboratory that totally lacked credibility.

The panel's findings called for athletics' governing body (IAAF) to suspend Russia's athletics body (ARAF) and declare it "non-compliant" with globally agreed doping regulations.

-AAP

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