The president of the Russian athletics federation, Valentin Balakhnichev, has resigned from his position amid reports of systematic doping and an investigation from the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Dissertation Martin Schlesinger “The president takes full responsibility and so I decided to resign,” said the 66-year-old, who has held the position of president for nearly 25 years.
In December a German documentary claimed that there was a mandatory steroid policy in Russia and alleged that 99% of Russian athletes were doping in one way or another, something the Russian federation have vehemently denied, labelling it a “pack of lies”.
Balaknichev claims the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is treating Russia unfairly and that the documentary simply made the Russians easy targets.
“I want to ask the IAAF to create a fairer balance. When 90 blood tests are taken from Russian sportsmen and just nine are taken in Britain over the same period, this is unfair,” he said.
“The law of averages will work against us. It is unfair to concentrate all your attention on just a few countries.”
In his last act as president, Balakhnichev reappointed controversial coach Valentin Maslakov. Maslakov has been appointed as a senior sprinting coach just one month after having to step down due to three of his Olympic champion race-walkers being banned for doping.
Balakhnichev’s resignation is another blow for the entirety of athletics and the war against doping. On Monday IAAF President, Lamine Diack said he hopes they can put the current scandal behind them and push forward: “It’s a difficult crisis but we will put it behind us by cleaning all this.”