WADA Report Accuses Russia Of State Sponsored Doping In Athletics Progam

10/11/2015 6:09 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Streeter Lecka via Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: (L-R) Silver medalist Jared Tallent of Australia, gold medalist Sergey Kirdyapkin of Russia and bronze medalist Tianfeng Si of China pose during the medal ceremony for the Men's 50km Walk on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on The Mall on August 11, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Australian long distance walker Jared Tallent may yet be awarded a retrospective gold medal for the 50km walk event at the 2012 London Olympics following the release of the findings in an independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) into Russian Athletics which found extensive and systemic cheating within the organisation and in the broader Russian State.

Tallent has spoken to media about the report's findings and says he is not surprised.

"This is a very dark day for the sport. It's going to be tough for the sport to be credible again," he said while at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) on Tuesday.

"I've been in competitions racing against these Russians and you can see that they're not doing the simple things that clean athletes do -- they're purely relying on the drugs," he added.

Tallent has been calling for a ban on all Russian athletes from as early as January this year when the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) handed out what was deemed to be very selective punishments to some of its athletes including Sergey Kirdyapin, who won the Gold medal at the London Olympics in the 50km walk ahead of Tallent, with the result in London being excluded from the penalties issued.

Tallent admitted that it has been hard to sustain strong motivation over the years when it is obvious there are athletes cheating.

"My motivation has been taken away a lot over the last few years. Just knowing that every time I was going in a major competition, I was competing against people who were not playing on a level playing field; so it's been really, really tough,"he said.

WADA have insisted that the Russian Athletics Federation and the broader Russian authorities act on the report's recommendations to avoid serious consequences but Tallent says he thinks that is unlikely.

"I think they'll continue to try and get away with it. The only way to make them stop is to ban them -- ban the Federation," he said.

Athletics Australia is backing the call from WADA to ban Russia from Athletics competition saying athletes like Tallent have been robbed.

Ironically for Tallent, on the day the news broke about the WADA report, he was greeted with a surprise drug test to start his day.

The WADA has called for the banning of Russian track and field athletes from all competition -- including the 2016 Olympics -- following the release of an independent report identifying systematic doping practices.

An independent inquiry commissioned by WADA released its findings in a report on Monday which outlines systemic cheating with complicity extending from the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) to the Russian State and even with implications for the world athletics governing body, the IAAF.

In what is being viewed as a crisis for the sport of Athletics, WADA has called on Russia to overhaul its approach to the sport and its current practices.

The report has found that the extensive cheating has had ramifications on specific results in both international athletics events and even in the Olympics.

Understandably, other international athletes are outraged but not surprised at the findings of the report and are calling for a review of results involving Russian athletes.

The report also found the Moscow-based laboratory, sanctioned by the IAAF, had destroyed more than 1400 samples in late 2014 before a scheduled WADA inspection and that there was an endemic culture of cheating by athletics coaches.

Further allegations made by the report range from Russia’s secret service intimidating the workers at the drug-testing lab to impersonating laboratory technicians during the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Athletes are reported to have taken on false identities to avoid testing with others bribing anti-doping authorities to assure favourable results.

This newest development raises long debated questions around the psychology behind cheating in sport.

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