Russian doping: Jenny Meadows sickened by claims

British 800m runner Jenny Meadows

British runner Jenny Meadows fears it would be the "biggest doping scandal of all time" if allegations of widespread and systematic cheating among Russian athletes turns out to be true.

Meadows, beaten to European gold by a Russian drug cheat in 2011, said the claims made her feel "sick".

The 800m star also insisted that athletics would never stamp out doping.

The 33-year-old from Wigan told BBC Sport: "I never think it's a battle that we can win."

A German television documentary, broadcast on Wednesday, claimed to present evidence of systematic doping and corruption in Russian sport.

Those claims have been rejected as "a pack of lies" by the president of Russian Athletics Federation.

Jenny Meadows career medals
Gold - 2011 European Indoor Championships (800m), 2001 European U23 Championships (4x400m), 2000 World Junior Championships (4x400m)
Silver - 2011 European Indoor Championships (4x400m), 2010 World Indoor Championships (800m)
Bronze - 2010 European Championships (800m), 2009 World Championships (800m)

The documentary also contended that the corruption extends beyond Russia and implicated the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in a cover-up.

The IAAF said it had "noted a number of grave allegations" and revealed that an investigation into some of the claims is "already ongoing".

The BBC has not independently verified the documentary's allegations and is awaiting responses from athletes targeted in the programme.

But Meadows told BBC sports editor Dan Roan: "If this is true, I think this would be the biggest doping scandal of all time."

In 2011, Meadows finished second to Yevgeniya Zinurova in the European Indoor Championships, only to be upgraded to gold the following year when the Russian was banned for two years for doping.

"I was left with a silver medal, wondering how I didn't win the title," said Meadows. "It took 15 months to prove that the Russian athlete in front of me was doping."

She added that, if the latest allegations were correct, then more medals could be coming her way.

"I've won four medals in the past, but I should have won seven. Of the four I have won, three are the wrong colour, so I'm very personally interested," she said.

Despite the latest controversy, Meadows vowed never to turn her back on athletics, even though she felt doping would never be eradicated.

"There are always going to be more sophisticated things produced. There is a lot of money to be gained, so people are always going to cheat," she said.

"A lot of athletes do feel let down, but it's not going to make me walk way from the sport."

The claims of widespread wrongdoing stem principally from former Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife Yulia (nee Rusanova), formerly an 800m runner who was banned for doping.

They allege that leading Russian athletics officials supplied banned substances in exchange for 5% of an athlete's earnings and colluded with doping control officers to hush up and falsify tests.

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