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LONDON (Reuters) - Russian athletes involved in a major doping scandal will face disciplinary proceedings in the next three months as the sport bids to deal with a "crisis", the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Monday.
The IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have begun a probe into Russian race-walking after a German television documentary alleged widespread doping.
"It's a difficult crisis but we will put it behind us by cleaning all this," IAAF President Lamine Diack told the BBC, adding that he was "shocked" and "disturbed" when he heard about the allegations.
Russia's anti-doping agency announced last month that three Olympic walking champions, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin, Sergei Kirdyapkin, as well as the 2011 world champion Sergei Bakulin and the 2011 world silver medalist Vladimir Kanaykin had been suspended for doping infringements.
"We hope to at least initiate proceedings in the next two or three months on the first individuals," IAAF anti-doping manager Thomas Capdevielle said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.
The IAAF said disciplinary proceedings have been opened against coach Viktor Chegin who trained at the Russian race-walking center in Saransk.
"The case is currently being investigated and pursued as an anti-doping violation," Capdevielle said.
"He requires some investigation. "But we are confident it will end up in a satisfying conclusion for us, with a sanction and this coach out of the sport."
The German TV program also alleged that IAAF officials were involved in covering up doping in Russia, something Diack denied.
"I'm convinced I know my department," he said. "I know how they work very, very hard about the fight against doping, and I didn't see any reason to make a cover-up of a doping case," the 81-year-old Senegalese said.
"OK, in Russia there are some cheaters and if it's demonstrated that cheating is organized we have to take action, not only on the athletes, but on the leaders.
"It's our job to clean all this and take all the measures we have to take."
Diack will stand down in August after 16 years as IAAF President, the most influential position in the sport.
Reporting by Michael Hann and Ed Osmond, editing by Justin Palmer