No action on Shvetsov

2010-11-06 00:00

IT is unlikely any action will be taken against two-time Russian Comrades Marathon winner Leonid Shvetsov, who this week was alleged to be both a supplier and user of banned performance-enhancing substances since the mid-nineties.

There has been no official word from World Anti-doping Association (Wada) and so it would appear that Shvetsov, of whom the allegations were made in a prominent running magazine, is unlikely to be charged or face penalty. The Russian retired from competition in 2009.

“The association is aware of the allegations against Leonid Shvetsov,” Comrades Association general manager Gary Boshoff said. “[However], we will not be making any comment until conclusive evidence is produced.”

Comrades was among the first road races in the country to pilot and implement drug testing and commenced this in the late eighties. Currently it contracts the South African Institute for Drug- free Sport to test elite runners.

“As an affiliate of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics and Athletics South Africa, the CMA fully subscribes to the International Amateur Athletics Federation and World Anti-Doping Agency’s testing protocol for performance-enhancing drugs and banned substances,” Boshoff said.

While Shvetsov’s agent and spokesperson, Ray de Vries, this week denied the allegations made against Shvetsov, from a speculative viewpoint it would seem the weight of opinion is against De Vries’s standpoint.

Britain’s Peter Whitehead, Canadian Bruce Raymar and ex-South African and 1993 World Marathon Champion Mark Plaatjies are among the top international athletes to have supported the contentions made by Belgian-born Eddy Hellebuycks, who was a central figure in the elite training group in Albuquerque during the build-up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Plaatjies said: “Everybody in the sport knew about Leonid. On the circuit, he always had the reputation as a doper.”

Whitehead didn’t mince his words. “Leonid wasn’t clean. His times in training didn’t come close to matching up with his times in races,” he said.

Raymer’s statement appears damning in the detail.

“Leonid quite openly kept a stockpile of EPO in his refrigerator,” reported the Canadian. “He approached me with the offer to sell me some EPO. He quoted me a price for one cycle — $400. I told him no thanks.”

Raymer alleges the Russian offered to sell him the anabolic agent clenbuterol.

“[Leonid’s] room was like a pharmacy full of banned drugs. I also saw Winstrol [the brand name for the anabolic steroid stanozolol] and Anavar [the steroid oxandrolone],” Raymer said.

Hellebuycks, who was banned for substance abuse, initiated the exposure during an interview for an American running magazine published in mid-October.

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