No regrets on exposing Russia doping: whistleblowers

Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:30am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - The husband and wife who blew the whistle on doping in Russian athletics say they have no regrets about speaking up and exposing cheats despite being accused of betraying their own country.

Yulia Stepanova, an international runner who was herself suspended for doping offences, and her husband Vitaly, a former Russian anti-doping agency official, secretly recorded Russian coaches and athletes over almost two years describing how they used performance-enhancing drugs.

Their evidence formed a major part of an investigation that led to Russian athletes being suspended from international competition this month, but came at a high personal cost.

Both have been heavily criticized in their homeland and have spent the past year living abroad but say the sacrifice was worth it.

“In the sense that I believed in something that I thought was right, and I tried," Vitaly told the Sunday Times newspaper in Britain.

"You can have fake values, animal instincts or you can be more human.

“Because if this year has proved anything, it is that sports are run by the wrong people.”

The Stepanovas first took on the role of whistleblowers last year when they featured as witnesses in a television documentary that alleged widespread corruption and drug-taking in Russian athletics.

The pair had been in hiding since but agreed to be interviewed by the Sunday Times. In the interview, the pair said their actions had been vindicated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission's (IC) report into allegations of widespread doping in Russian athletics.   Continued...

A security guard walks on the territory of the federal state budgetary institution "Federal scientific centre of physical culture and sports", which houses a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in Moscow, Russia, November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin