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Sports

IAAF knew of Russian doping and athletes 'risking their lives' in 2009

The revelations come days before the World Anti-Doping Authority's independent report on the IAAF's complicity in covering up doping in athletics.

The IAAF not only knew about doping in Russian athletics but also feared for the safety and health of the athletes in question six years before it chose to ban the country from international competition.

In documents leaked to the Associated Press, the federation warned Russian officials in October 2009 of athletes not only cheating their fellow competitors but also "seriously risking their health or even their lives at the same time."

In a letter addressed to then president of the All-Russia Athletic Federation(ARAF), Valentin Balaknichev, the IAAF raise concern with 'startling' results from tests done on Russian athletes during the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

Balaknichev was recently banned for breaching anti-doping laws but was clearly warned in the letter by Pierre Weiss, IAAF general secretary from 2006-2011, that the federation had "recorded some of the highest values ever seen since the IAAF started testing."

He adds: "I should inform you that a number of very high level Russian athletes already have suspicious profiles and indeed once more samples are collected to complete their profiles, may very well face sanctions."

At the time the IAAF couldn't sanction the athletes in question based on test results alone but were aware of the large scale doping in Russian athletics. Raising questions as to why the governing body chose to wait so long before acting.

The World Anti-Doping Authority is expected to release its own report on Thursday, detailing the IAAF's alleged cover up of doping within the sport of athletics.

sb/jh (AP)

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