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Russia Is Still Doping, German Documentary Claims

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko speaks to the media during a news conference. Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

Russia has not done as much to solve its doping problems as it would like the world to believe, a documentary by the German broadcaster ARD/WDR said late Wednesday.

Moscow has been battling allegations of widespread, state sponsored use of performance enhancing drugs during Olympic Games in London and Sochi.

But the documentary by ARD/WDR said Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko had been directly involved in a cover-up scheme. It also said several supposedly suspended staff continue to work with Russian athletes, according to an English-language transcript of the documentary seen by The Moscow Times.

The documentary, “Doping Secret: Showdown for Russia,” is the second installment of an investigation into Russian doping. It showed footage and witness testimonials that it said proved that race-walking coach Viktor Chegin was still involved in training athletes.

On Thursday, Mutko denied that Chegin continues to train athletes in an official capacity. “Chegin does not train — he is a specialist with vast experience and has thousands of disciples … but, officially, he never works,” Mutko said, the TASS news agency reported.

Chegin was handed a lifetime ban by the Russian Athletics Federation in March for breaking anti-doping rules.

The documentary also showed footage of another coach, Yury Gordeyev, continuing to work with athletes after he was suspended for handing out banned substances.

The film showed email correspondence supposedly proving that Mutko, the sports minister, had personally obstructed the release of a positive doping test involving a football player from the Russian Premier League.

Mutko said Thursday that he remains unconvinced by the evidence presented in the documentary, TASS reported.

The sports minister has consistently denied allegations of a state-sponsored doping program.

According to the documentary, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is being lenient with Russia ahead of this year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

“Behind the scenes, the IOC leadership is still trying to help Russia to be allowed to compete at the Olympics,” the filmmakers said at the close of the documentary’s broadcast on Wednesday. “Who can still believe the sports officials’ fairytale about clean sport?”

The first installment of ARD’s investigation, titled “Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia Produces Its Winners,” was released in December 2014. It sparked an explosive report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has resulted in a blanket suspension of Russian track and field athletes from international competition.

The ban is set to be reviewed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on June 17.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s broadcast, Mutko said the filmmakers were attempting to influence the IAAF’s decision.

"The aim of this film is obvious: to influence the committee on the reinstatement of Russian athletics on the eve of its meeting," he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that all unfounded allegations would be taken as “absolute slander.”

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