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IOC confirms talks between its president and Russian whistleblowers

Moscow, Oct 25 (IANS) A personal meeting between International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and Russia's whistleblowing pair Vitaly and Yulia Stepanova, whose earlier testimonies instigated a doping-related scandal in Russian sports, took place in September, the world governing body has said.

Sports web portal Inside The Games reported on Monday that following the meeting, former runner Yulia was awarded a significant training grant and her husband Vitaly was offered a consulting job with the IOC on the anti-doping related issues, reports Tass.

"We can confirm that the IOC President did meet with Yuliya and Vitaly Stepanov in September," the IOC said in a statement on Monday.

"Following an executive board decision taken already in July to support the couple the IOC has offered them both assistance in their careers."

Ex-doping official Vitaly and Yulia, were in the centre of a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports aired by German TV channel ARD in December 2014.

ARD's first two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

ARD released another documentary "Doping - Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics" on August 1, 2015.

The film claimed that ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times had obtained a leaked database belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations, which contained more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012.

ARD further alleged that a third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests but none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

The third part of his documentaries, premiered on March 6, entitled "Doping Top Secret: Russia's Red Herrings." In that episode he claimed that the Russian athletics authorities were not taking sufficient steps to clean the sports from doping.

The fourth and most recent part of the German journalist's documentaries on the allegedly widespread doping abuse in Russia was titled "Doping Secret: Showdown for Russia."

The series of German documentaries prompted a reaction from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which ruled early last year to set up an independent body to investigate the issue.

--IANS

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